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1Y MA j. Ho RACE BELL 



University of California • Berkeley 

Gift of 

PHILA ROGERS & LINDA COSKI 
in memory of their father 
HOWARD WILLOUGHBY 




BANCROFT LIBRARY 



REMINISCENCES 



-OF A- 



RANGER 



-OR,— 



EARLY TIMES 



-IN — 



SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA, 



By MAJOE HORACE BELL. 



LOS ANGELES: 

YARNELL, CAYSTILE & MATKE8, PUINTEK8. 



1881. 



Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1881, by 

HORACE BELL, 
In the office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington, D. C. 



Bancroft Library 



TO THE FKW 

SURVIVING MEMBERS 

OV THE 

LOS ANGELES RANGERS, 

AND TO THE MEMOHY OP THOSE WHO HAVE ANSWERED TO THE 

LAST ROLL-CALL, 

THIS HUMBLE TRIBUTE IS AFFECTIONATELY DEDICATED BY 
JHE AUTHOR. 



PREFACE. 

No country or section during the first decade following the 
conquest of California, has been more prolific of adventure 
than our own bright and beautiful land ; and to rescue from 
threatened oblivion the incidents herein related, and either oc- 
curring under the personal observation of the author, or related 
to him on the ground by the actors therein, and to give place 
on the page of history to the names of brave and worthy men 
who figured in the stirring events of the times referred to, as 
well as to portray pioneer life as it then existed, not only among 
the American pioneers, but also the California Spaniards, the 
author sends forth his book of Reminiscences, trusting that 
its many imperfections may be charitably scrutinized by a crit- 
icising public, and that the honesty of purpose with which it is 
written will be duly appreciated. 

H. B. 



NOTE. 

The word "Registrar" used instead of Register in Chap. VI 
must be charged to the printers and not the author. 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER I. 

The Sea Bird — Arrival at San Pedro— The two Captains Haley — Pio- 
neer Staging — Sailor Stage Drivers — Banning — " Let Her Drive " — 
Stage Race and High Betting — Arrival at the Angels — The Bella 
Union and its Guests — The First Vigilance Committee — The Seven 
Wise Men ef the Angels — Their Inquisitorial Torture — They Find 
the Assassin of Gen. Bean and Hang an Innocent Man — Joaquin 
Murietta — Zapatero, the Tejon Chief — The El Dorado — Aleck Gib- 
son's — Nigger Alley and Gambling— Notel Characters — Crooked 
Nose Smith — Cherokee Bob 17 

CHAPTER II. 

Ricardo Urives — He Wipes Out Jim Irvin's Party — His Encounter 
with John G. Downey — A Bloody Affray in Nigger Alley— Ri- 
cardo Passes in His Checks— The Black Democrat— The Court of 
the Vigilance Committee — The Doomed Men — The Gallows — 
Hanging Reyes Feliz, Sandoval and Three Others — The Arkansas 
Man as Hangman — The Last of the First Mob — Retribution — 
Fandango at the Moreno House— The Marshal — J. Thompson Bur- 
rill's Court and How it Was Adjourned— Granger and Ogier — The 
Mission Indians — A Slave Mart — •. 31 

CHAPTER III. 

More Lynching— Disgraceful Proceedings — Smith and a Mexican are 
Whipped on the Plaza — Tossing a Man in a Blanket — A Broken 
Neck — Even Change — Thompson Burrill and Dona Concha — A 
Man Gets Married— The Hairless Dog — Jack Powers and His 
Great Influence — He Defies the Law — Emigrates to Sonora and is 
Murdered — Alas ! Poor Jack — Los Angeles the Hot-bed of Revolu- 
tion — Castro's Pronunciamento — Micheltorena — Gringo Versus 
Gringo, anJ the Great Three Days Battle of Providencia— Blood, 
"God and Liberty." — Bandini's Revolution — The Founding of Los 
Angeles — Navarro's Dream 50 



10 CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER IV. 

The " Most Useful Man," and How he Played it nn Friar Juan, of Agua 
Mansa — His Duel With General Magruder— Juan Largo Versus 
Juan Chapo — A Wonderful Lawsuit — Myron Norton, Don Jose", and 
the Mixed Jury — Cobarrubias 72 

CHAPTER V. 

Spanish Families— Good Society — A First-classJ Mexican Ball — 
Ranchero Hospitality— Captain J. Q. A. Stanley — R, S. Den, Ban- 
dini and Others— Washington's Birthday Ball in 1853— Assault and 
Hard Fighting— The Dead— Myron Norton \Vounded-The Angels 
on a War Footing — Andres Pico Commands the Peace — The Mis- 
sion Indians Adopt Gringo Customs and Hang a Man — Mission 
Squirrels Versus Mission Bells 88 

CHAPTER VI. 

A Grand Character — An Old-time Election in Los Angeles— Capturing 
Voters, the Modus Operand! — Disguising Sovereigns — Old Payuche 
-^History Repeats Itself— The Register of the Land Office Dines 
Off the Nose of the U. S. District Attorney — The Judge and 
the Pet Deer — Lafayette Cotton and the Register — An Overdose of 
Buckshot 99 

CHAPTER VII. 

Joaquin Murietta and His Desperate Doings — A Reign of Terror — The 
Rangers — Captain Hope and Others— The Twin Brothers, Green and 
Wiley Marshall — Green's Adventures in Arizona— Death of the two 
Brothers 107 

CHAPTER VIII. 

The Great Western Napoleon — The Grand Gringo Campaign Against 
the Desert Indians — Don Benito Wilson, the Honest Indian Agent 
— The Indians Steal His Horses — A Vindictive Pursuit — Don Vi- 
cente de La Osa and His Reinforceinervt — The Padres of Old 118 

CHAPTER IX. 

The Great Ohio Mail Robber Seeks Refuge in Los Angeles and is 
Arrested — The Royal Bengal Tiger — A Stir Among the Angels — 
A Cool Lawyer — Fourth of July Celebration at San Pedro and 
Los Angeles — Alexander & Banning— Don Juan Sepulveda and the 
Patriotic Spanish-Americans — A Reminiscence by an Old Mexican 
Captain — Commodore Mervine's March on Los Angeles — His Re- 
pulse — Patriotic Mexicans Fire a Salute Over the Americans Killed 
in the Battle— Brave Higuera — A Curious Court Scene 127 



CONTENTS. 11 

CHAPTER X. 

The Pkuutom, Spectre, or What is It?— Great E^tampida — Excitement 
Among the Vaqucros— Bill Solves the Mystery — John T. Lan fran- 
co's Pioneer Sulky — A Sharp Briar and Pious Fraud — A Sermon to 
the Rangers — A. Large Col lection— A Midnight Raid and Important 
Capture — The Jackass Lawsuit— Drown and Thorn — " An Irishman 
Can't Give Evidence in this Court" — A Test ot Blood 138 

CHAPTER XI. 

A Bloody Chapter — Murderers and Bandits Flee From San Luis Obispo 
— The Rangers Capture the Whole Band After a Sharp Skirmish in 
Bliss' Vineyard — A Female Fighter — All Taken to San Luis Obispo 
and Hung — The Murder of Porter and Pursuit of Vergara — Stanley, 
Banning and Winston— A Hide for Life — Hand to Hand Fight — 
Vergara Escapes, Reaches Yuma and is Killed by the Guard — 
Don Santiago Arguello— Major Heintzelman 151 

CHAPTER XII. 

The Murder of Jack Whaling — An Army of Fair and Frail Sisters — 
Moreno's Baud — Robbery of Lelwng's House — Moreno Kills His 
Comrades for Blood Money — Capture of Moreno — The Whole City 
on Guard — Solomon La/.ard's Bravery — Mayor Nichol's Message- 
to the Council — All is Mystery 158 

CHAPTER XIII. 

The Post of Jurupa— Captain Lovell— Military Discipline — A Gay and 
Festive Quartermaster — Smith — Attempted Robbery of Mrs. Ivcr- 
son's House at San Gabriel — Robber Camp at Temescal — The 
Rangers, Regulars and Mormon Contingent Make a Night March 
on Their Camp — Escape — On to San Juan Capistrano — Juan Fors- 
ter — Juan Avila el Rico. 165 

CHAPTER XIV. 

El Viejo Lugo — His Vast Wealth and Great Generosity — His Death — 
Bill, the Most Remarkable -Omar Pacha — Louis Napoleon — U. 8. 
Grant — Knights Ferry — King Gumbo Jumbo and Kahmebameha — 
A Wonderful Saint — Chebang— Boom — My Compadre — Another 
Pacha who Decimates a Turkish Regiment 174 

CHAPTER XV. 

Attempted Assassination ef Judge Hayes— Horses Stolen From San 
Bernardino Ranch — The Lugos Pursue, Attack and Defeat the In- 
dians, and Massacre a Party of Americans — Adobe Houses — The 
Fandango — Peons end Pelados— Cascarones — The Dead Des- 
perado 194 



12 CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER XVI. 

Alex. Bell — His Adventures— Lea U a Filibustering Expedition to 
Equador— Gen. Flores— Eminent Fighting Men— Walker's Expe-' 
dition to Lower California — A Mexican Hercules — Battle of La 
Grulla— The Twin Republics— The Old Flag Abolished— The Gov- 
ernraent Starts for Sonora — Hercules Heads it off — Major Mc- 
Kinstry, U. 8. A. 203 

CHAPTER XVII. 

. 

More Filibusters — Cafe Barrierre— Madame Begon — The Expedition of 
Count Gaston de Raoussett Boulbon to Sonora — All Made Prisoners 
— The Noble Count is Shot and His Followers are Banished to Los 
Angeles — The Crabbe Expedition to S<mora — Its Objects — The 
Ainsa Family — Gandara and Pesqueira — The Massacre — One Sur- 
vivor Tells the Tale — The Feast of Demons — Fernandez the 
Traitor — Alexis Godey and Kit Carson— Crabbe's Original Letter 
to the Mexican Prefect Announcing his Coming — Pesqueira's 
Proclamation 211 

CHAPTER XVIII. 

More Filibusters — The Expedition of Admiral Zerman to Lower Cali- 
fornia — "The Stern Admiral" — Gen. Blancarte Traps and Sends 
the Party as Prisoners to Mexico — Bob Baldwin — John Cullen — 
Smith and His Bloody Record— John Temple and the Plan to Rob 
Him— His Vast Wealth— End of Smith 227 

CHAPTER XIX. 

Revolution — The California Spaniard — His Patriotism— The Great 
Gringo Nation — John Raines — Guadaloupe Sanchez — Organization 
of Patriots — The Plaza Occupied — "Viva la Republica, and Death 
to the Gringos " — General Littleton to the Rescue — Kaid on the Bella 
Union Bar- -Mayor Hodges in the Field — Firing on the Plaza — 
The Gringo Phalanx Routed — The Mayor in a Bomb Proof — The 
Phalanx Triumphant — The Killed and Wounded — Dona Maria, 
the Lady Mayoress in Peril — Littleton Relieves Her— The Last Out- 
rage—The Angels Redeemed— "All is Well that Ends Well." 235 

CHAPTER XX, 

Bull Fights — Romance of Spanish American Conquest — Gran Funcion 
de Toros— The Gran Toreador— Plaza de Toros— The Debut of Don 
Jesus — "The Bravest Man in the World" — A Furious Bull — A. Des- 
perate Encounter — The La/adores, Picadores and Banderilleros — 
The Gran Toreador Gets a Raise— The Battle Over— The Gringo's 
Revenge . . .242 



CONTENTS. 13 

CHAPTER XXI. 

Bears and Bear Stories— Lassoing the Grizzly — Jim Bogg's Bear Fight 
—Col. Win. Butts— "The Southern Cal i for niaii"— Butts and Wheeler 
• — Butts' Encounter With a Grizzly — Andy Sublette and the Bear — 
" Old Buck " — Andy's Last Fight— Victory and Death — Andy's 
Funeral — Old Buck Dies From Grief — Queer Freak of an Old 
Grizzly — Fred Stacer's Adventure— Bill Bradshaw and Nelse Wil- 
liamson — A Bad Wound 250 

CHAPTER' XXII. 

Parker H. French — His Grand Overland Expedition from San An- 
tonio de Bexar — Capture of the Expedition at El Paso — French- 
Turns Robber and Brings up in the Durango Prison — His Arm 
Amputated — Is a Guest at the Bella Uni»n — Goes to San Luis 
Obispo and Gets to be a Senator — His Antics — Sells and Mortgages 
His Constituents' Ranchos — Turns up in Nicaragua — Minister to 
Washington — Is Kicker' Out of Nicaragua and Turns up Again a 
Prisoner of State in Fort Lafayette — A Dangerous Confederate Spy. 261 

CHAPTER XXIII. 

John G'^ntnn and Hi« ChHuuthna Sraln Hunters — Mustang Gray and 
His Ranger Protege— Glan ton and His Rangers Reach Chihuahua 
— Treat With the Chihuahua Governor — Apache Scalps for Two 
Ounces Each — Ben. Riddle and John Abel— The First Campaign — 
Grn r " t ft,-~~~™ '.r.H nnHor. Wnword — The Second Campaign — A 
Mistake in Scalps — Flight of the Rangers — Arrival at Jesus Maria 
— The Mexican Flag Outrage — The Second Flight— Arrival at 
Tucson — The Place Besieged by Mangas Colorado — The Rangers 
Save the Place — Great Joy of the Inhabitants — The Last Camp — 
Massacre — The Two Browns 267 

CHAPTER XXIV. 

McFarland — The Election of '53 — Jurupa — Agua Mansa Again — Sharp 
Skirmishing tor Votes — Rubideaux — "Can a Nigger Vote in Califor- 
nia?" — He Votes — The Mormon Stockade — Bishop Crosby's Hotel — 
Cook- One Vote for Waldo — Quite a Skirmish — Alcalde Brown — 
Mormon Justice — Pegleg Smith — His Camp in the Rocky Moun 
tains— He Goes to the Spanish Country for Horses — Raid on Los 
Angeles Ranchos— Jim Beckworth— The Gringos Block the Game... 274 

CHAPTER XXV. 

Ranchero Life — Fiestas — Military Execution — Rancho San Pedro — Don 
Manuel Dominguez — A Dignitary — Rancho Del Chino— Colonel 
Isaac Williams—His Noble Generosity — Rancho San Joaquin— 
A Grand Rodea — Don Jose" Sepulveda— A Forty-two Mile Race- 
William Wolfskill 284 



14 CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER XXVI. 

Jim Savage the Tulare King — His Great Influence Over the Indians— 
His Barrel of Gold Du>t — He Establishes His Camp and Harem 
on the Plaza of San Frauuisc >- Is Photographed by Vance — Indian 
Monte— Jim Wins a Large Pile— His Bloody End 296 

CHAPTER XXVII. 

Bradshaw — A True Gentleman and Natural Lunatic — Bill First Turns 
up in Sonoma in 184G — His Scrimmage with a Mexican Captain — 
Comes Out First best but Vamoses the Ranch — .Joins the Bear Flag 
Party — Capture of Sonoma — True Chivalry — Joins Fremont's Bat- 
talion — Mad Freaks Among the Angels — The French Rebellion at 
Mokelumne Hill — The Militia Ordered out — Bradshaw Appointed to 
Command — Happy Termination of the War — His Antics in San 
Francisco — Goes to Arizona — Tragic Death 303 

CHAPTER XXVIII. 

The Haleys Again — Loss of the " Yankee Blade " — Timely Arrival of 
the "Goliah" — The Roughs on the Wrecked Steamer — Gallant 
Exploit of Captain Haley in Rescuing the Unfortunates — How the 
Roughs were Handled on the '• Goliah" — The Russian Frigate 
" Diana " and the French Man of War " Ambuscade " — The Great 
Japan Tidal Wave — Great Destruction of Shipping — The "Sea 
Bird " Rides Through It 312 

CHAPTER XXIX. 

More Pioneer Staging — Banning Again — A Rough Ride — Dangerous 
Driving — Fort Tejon and Its Commander — W. S. Hancock, A. Q. M. 
— The Kern River Excitement — A Grand Rush — The First Train 
Going North— Don David Alexander — A Reminiscence of Cerbol 
Barelas and the Path-Finder — Stoneman and Others 322 

CHAPTER XXX. 

A Ranger Antiquarian — A Pompeii at Our Back Door — Tehachepi — 
The Robin Hood of the Windy Pass— The Last Relic of a By-gone 
Race — The Valley *>f Perpetual Bloom — The Ventarron — The 
Phantom City 336 

CHAPTER XXXI. 

Joe Stokes — A First Class Desperad<i — Sanguinaiy .Combat-^Kills His 
Man at Sacramento and Comes to Los Angeles — An Episode in 
San Francisco — Ned McGowan — The Panama Riot and Massacre — 
A Heroic Defense — Glorious Death — A. H. Clark — His Farewell to 
Angel Creditors. . . . . 350 



CONTENTS. 15 

CHAPTER XXXII. 

The Know Nothings Carry the Day in 1855 — Downey Again — Aleck 
Bell Again, and How He Won a Fine Position, and How He Man- 
aged His Friends at Ban Quintin— James King of William 370 

CHAPTER XXXIII. 

Another Revolution — Juan Flores Raises the Standard of Revolt — Cap- 
tures San Juan Capistrano — Levies Forced Loans — Murders a Mer- 
chant — Massacre of the Sheriffs Party — A Vendetta — Gen. Pico 
Takes the Field — T. D. Mott Commands an Expedition to San 
Buenaventura — The Rebellion Squelched — Rebels Hung — Bloody 
Trophies— Stuttering Aleck 38£ 

CHAPTER XXXIV. 

A Reminiscence of San Francisco — The El Dorado — A. Great Gambling 
Hell — Clayt Sinclair and His High Betting — The Diamond Cluster 
Pin — A Chinese Thief — A Nest of Burglars and Counterfeiters — 
Capture of the Gang — Cora and Richardson — The Allies — The 
Malikoff Retaken— The Union 395 

CHAPTER XXXV. 

The Great Colorado Desert — A Legend — A Scientific Man Makes a 
Great Discovery — The Desert to be Filled with Water — The " Wid- 
ney Sea " — Fremont to Fill it Up — General Stoneman Knecks the 
Bottom Out of It— A Tradition— The Ship of the Desert 407 

CHAPTER XXXVI. 

A Reminiscence of Sacramento — King Solomon Gets His Gold in Cali- 
fornia — An Ancient Description of the Country — The 200-Pound 
Diamond — The El Dorado War — Murder — The Diamond Again — 
Skirmish with Indians — A Discovery — Gold Lake — San Fran — 
cisco — T. Butler King and Uncle Sam's Coin — Frank Ball Again... 426 

CHAPTER XXXVII. 

A Retrospective View — A Thirty Years' Change — "The Old Man of the 
Mountain " — Fraudulent Land Grants — The Limantour Land Claim 
— Santa Ana's Minister Bocanegra — Attempt to Assassinate Him — 
Fraud Exposed — The Justice and Wisdom of the Government Vin- 
dicated — Conclusion .. 443 



CHAPTER I. 

The Sea Bird — Arrival at San Pedro — The two Captains Haley — Pioneer 
Staging — Sailor Stage Drivers — Banning — " Let Her Drive " — Stage 
Race and High Betting — Arrival at the Angels — The Bella Union and 
its Guests — The First Vigilance Committee — The Seven Wise Men of 
the Angels— Their Inquisitorial Torture — They Find the Assassin of 
Gen. Bean and Hang an Innocent Man— Joaquin Murietta — Zapatero, 
the Tejon Chief— The El Dorado — Aleck Gibson's — Nigger Alley and 
Gambling— Note! Characters — Crooked Nose Smith — Cherokee Bob. 



fN October, 1852, the good steamer "Sea Bird," Captain 
Haley, landed at San Pedro. Whether the gallant com- 
mander of the swan-like little steamer that so gracefully 
swept our beautiful Southern coast was Salisbury Haley Esq., 
now an honored member of the California bar, or his elder brother 
"Bob," 1 disremember. Glorious old Bob Haley! So fondly 
remembered by all who are left of those that were so wont to go 
dead-head to San Francisco, with jolly old Bob on his merry 
craft in those good old times, long gone by, never to be known 
again in this world, and certainly not by any of us who so mer- 
rily passed through them. I think, however, that Salisbury was 
the commander of the beautiful " Sea Bird," on the trip that 
brought the writer to this land of sunshine and bountiful pros- 
perity, more than a quarter of a century ago. What changes 
have been wrought within that time ! Changes in Govern- 
ment, progress in commerce, discoveries in science, revolutions 
in modes of travel, and vicissitudes in the lives and fortunes of 
individuals !• How few are left of the thoughtless and reckless 
adventurers who inhabited and roamed over California twenty- 
eight years ago; and at that time all were adventurers, unless, 



18 REMINISCENCES OF A BANGER. 

perchance, some few of the grave old Spaniards who belonged 
to a past generation. 

The "Sea Bird" brought about twenty passengers, one of 
whom was the writer, then a boy in years, and the youngest of 
all, unless, perhaps, little Johnny Wilson, now deceased, Ro- 
mualdo Pacheco, Judge Ogier, B. D. Wilson, Pat. Tompkins, 
the eccentric lawyer and former Congressman from Mississippi, 
and Alexander Nelson, of Green Meadows. I remember that 
Nelson was in company with the Hardy boys, who were bring- 
ing down an English thoroughbred race horse to get a race out 
of "Old Sepulveda," against a native mustang, and beat the 
old Don out of a thousand or two head of cattle and a few 
thousand dollars. They got the race, but failed to drive the 
cattle to a profitable market in the mines, for the reason that 
Sepulveda's California mustang, on the nine-mile race, almost 
distanced the beautiful thoroughbred, and the old Don afore- 
said quietly pocketed the innumerable $50 octagonal slugs, 
brought down by the boys, who were so absolutely cleaned out, 
that, if my memory is correct, they were all forced to go to 
work, something hardly to be thought of at that time in Los 
Angeles. Indians did the labor and the white man spent the 
money in those happy days. 

The Hardys are all dead. Nelson is a rich and prosperous 
farmer, whose increase of family keeps pace with his prosperity. 

At San Pedro we found two stages of the old army ambu- 
lance pattern, to which were being harnessed as vicious a look- 
ing herd of bronco mules as ever kicked the brains out of a 
gringo. While a half dozen Indian and Mexican vaqueros 
were engaged in subduing and hitching up the mules, a gallant 
looking young man rode up, splendidly mounted, and dressed 
in elegant clothes, half gentleman and half ranchero in style, 
and after politely saluting Don Benito Wilson, informed him 
that a great Vigilance Committee was in session in Los An- 
geles, and were trying some half dozen cut-throats, who had 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 19 

been arrested and accused of the murder of General Bean. 
Don Benito informed us that the young man was Billy 
Reader, City Marshal of Los Angeles. Poor Billy ! He ac- 
companied the author to Nicaragua and -was killed at San Ja- 
cinto. By the time the conversation above referred to had 
ended, the stages were ready and we were invited to "get in." 
A sailor-looking fellow, who seemed to be at least half-seas- 
over, sat on the driver's seat and held the lines all together in 
both hands, while two savage looking Mexicans, mounted on 
horses that, for bone and sinew, would have vied with the 
famous steed of Mazeppa, stood with lassoes tightly drawn on 
the leading mules to "guide centre," while two others stood in 
a flanking position with their riatas ready to be used as whips 
to urge the animals forward when the word was given to "let 
loose." Finally, when all hands were seated, a portly looking 
young man that Don Benito called Banning, came around with 
a basket on his arm and offered to each of the passengers an 
ominous looking black bottle, remarking, "Gentlemen, there is 
no water between here and Los Angeles," and then inquired, 
" all ready ? " One surly looking sailor driver grumbled out in 
reply. " Is there going to be no betting ? " When Banning 
laughingly remarked that the drivers usually expected the pas- 
sengers to bet something on the trip, "just enough to make it 
interesting," whereupon a passenger who sat beside me, whose 
neat appearance showed him to be a recent importation, offered 
to bet $5 on our stage. One of the horse racers on the other 
stage said: "Well, do you suppose there is a man on this 
wagon who would bet $5? There is a slug I'll go you on the 
trip." My neighbor, whom I recollect as Ransom, failed to re- 
spond; so the author patriotically saw his $50, after which the 
betting became general. 

When all the stakes were made, Banning sang • out to the 
driver: "Now lads, mind your helm ! Let her drive! " and the 
Mexican major-domo savagely yelled out: "Suelto carajo!" and 



20 REMINISCENCES OF A BANGER. 

sure enough it was "let loose" and away we went. Of all the 
rattling of harness, kicking, bucking, pulling, lashing and 
swearing, the twelve bronco mules, the two half-drunk sailor 
drivers, and the six Mexican conductors with their chief, the 
major-domo, they did the most. The mules were worthy of 
the glorious country that gave them to their domineering and 
relentless masters. The two Mexicans who "guided centre" on 
the two leading mules of both stages, were certainly artists; 
they were absolute masters of the situation. They just snaked 
the mules along, whether they would or not. The four out- 
riders, or mule-whackers, showed a refinement in whipping 
mules that was absolutely incomparable, and by the time we 
were half way to the Angels, the mules bore a perfect resem- 
blance to the ring-streaked and striped kine of Holy Writ. 
The two half- drunk sailor drivers would roar at each other, as 
we dashed along at lightning speed, sometimes passing each 
other, sometimes neck and neck, each team straining every 
nerve to get ahead of the other. "Helm a-port, you lubber ! 
Don't you see you will run into me ! " always with an amount 
of profanity that was absolutely appalling. Greeley's ride with 
Hank Monk was monotonous compared with the early staging 
between San Pedro and Los Angeles. There was money bet 
on that bronco mule stage race, and when we had passed over 
about half the distance, the two teams kind of slacked up in 
speed, as if by mutual consent of all concerned, except we who 
had bet our money. We were opposed to any thing of the sort, 
and urged our driver onward, when he said in a gruff kind of 
way: " When will we splice the main brace ? " One of the black 
bottles was accordingly opened and passed to the driver, who 
raised his eyes heavenward and gazed piously at the stars that 
were just beginning to twinkle in the early twilight, and then 
passed it to one of the "whackers," who also raised his eyes 
heavenward and gazed at the stars. We passed out another 
bottle, and all of the Dons followed suit. We could sqe that the 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 21 

same performance was being gone through with by the party 
in charge of the other stage. We inside the stage went 
through the same pious devotions, only we failed to see stars. 
One happy passenger at this juncture said to the driver: "I'll 
give you $5 if you'll beat that stage to the city." 

" Bully/' said the sailor. " How much will you give ? And 
you ? And you ? And you ? " and " we all " who had bet gave 
$5, and then said the driver, "Them buckaries have got to be 
seen, or we are beaten worse nor a Chinese junk." We saw 
the Dons and told the driver to let loose again, and away we 
went rackety- whack. The party in the other stage had seen the 
drivers and Dons apparently in the same manner as we had seen 
ours, so we got no advantage of them, and the racing, lashing 
and swearing, both in English and Spanish, recommenced in as 
lively a manner as before, and on we dashed. In a brief space 
of time we were coming up San Pedro street at a fearful speed, 
followed by a pack of dogs, barking, yelping and snarling at us 
in a savage way. By the time we turned to come into town, 
about First street, their number seemed legion, " mongrel, 
puppy, whelp and hound." With the whole pack at our heels, 
we drove up to the Bella Union Hotel, now the St. Charles, 
our team at least a half-block in the rear of the winning party. 
Alas, for human folly! Where was my $50, my $5 to the 
driver, ditto to the Dons? It seemed to me to be ominous 
of future bad luck in the City of the Angels — of financial fail- 
ure. Alas ! Alas ! 

Winston and Hodges kept the Bella Union at that time. 
The house was a one-story flat-roofed adobe, with a corral in 
the rear, extending to Los Angeles street, with the usual great 
Spanish portal, near which stood a little frame house, one room 
above and one below. The lower room had the sign "Im- 
prenta" over the door fronting on Los Angeles street, which 
meant that the Star was published therein. The room up- 
stairs was used as a dormitory for the printers and editors. 



22 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

The editors were then three in number: Lewis, Rand, and 
Manuel Clemente Rojo. The latter edited the Spanish col- 
umns of the Star, it being published in both Spanish and En- 
glish. On the north side of the Bella Union corral, extending 
from the back-door of the main building to Los Angeles street, 
were numerous pigeon-holes, or dog-kennels. These were the 
rooms for the guests of the Bella Union. In rainy weather the 
primitive earthen floor was sometimes, and generally, rendered 
quite fnuddy by the percolations from the roof above, which, in 
height from floor to ceiling, was about six or seven feet. The 
rooms were not over 6x9 in size. Such were the ordinary dor- 
mitories of the hotel that advertised as being the "best hotel 
south of San Francisco." If a very aristocratic guest came 
along, a great sacrifice was made in his favor, and he was per- 
mitted to sleep on the little billiard table. "The bar was well 
supplied." So said the advertisement. It was well patron- 
ized. So says this truthful historian. We registered our 
name, washed, and smiled at the bar. The grim, desperado- 
looking bar-tender by no means smiled at us. lie looked as 
though he had not smiled since his father was hung. Mind 
you, now, I don't say that bar- tender's father was hung, but if 
he were not, he should have been before becoming the father of 
such an ill-looking fellow. He was a vindictive appearing 
man, and wore an old dragoon overcoat and a red hat; a vi- 
cuna so common in the country at the time; open-legged 
Mexican calzoneros, with jingling buttons from hip to bottom, 
and by no means immaculate under-linen ; protruding from be- 
neath his flowing robe could be seen the ugly looking Colt's re- 
volver, while, with the red fringe-work of his Mexican sash 
could be seen mingled a chain of ponderous golden nuggets that 
hung from his fob. That bar-tender looked as though he never 
smiled. I am sure that no man, though he may have been 
never so hard up, so dry, or so desperate, would have had the te- 
merity to take a drink at that bar without treating that bar- 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 23 

tender with the utmost civility. In one corner behind the bar 
stood a double-barrelled shot-gun, while, lying within convenient 
reach, could be seen a couple of "Colt's" of the old army pat- 
tern, carrying half-ounce balls, and commonly called "batteries." 
The bar was evidently not to be taken by surprise. I soon made the 
acquaintance of the junior member of the hotel firm, who was 
also Mayor of the city, and, like Mayors in general, he was the 
reverse of the grim bar-tender. He just smiled all over, and all 
the time. It was a perpetual smile with genial old Hodges. 
The bar was well patronized, so reiterates this pious chron- 
icler, and during the hour or two that I was a looker-on, there 
was a continuous smiling at that bar. Although I had been 
two and-a-half years in the upper country, and had become fa- 
miliarized with the desperado character of the people, I 
most solemnly asseverate that the patrons who came and went 
from the Bella Union bar during that time were the most ban- 
dit, cut-throat looking set that the writer had ever sat his 
youthful eyes upon. Some were dressed in the gorgeous attire 
of the country, some half ranchero, half miner; others were 
dressed in the most modern style of tailorship; all, however, 
had slung to their rear the never-failing pair of Colt's, gener- 
ally with the accompaniment of the bowie knife. I will dis- 
pose of the aforesaid junior member of the hotel firm, Mayor 
Hodges, by saying that he is long since dead. The municipal 
corporation remembers him as one of its most enterprising and 
intelligent heads. Under his vigorous administration the au- 
thorities projected and carried to completion a public water 
ditch, which remains to this day a monument to his enterprise 
and forethought. 

On the morning following my arrival in the city of the An- 
gels I walked around to take notes in my mind as to matters 
of general interest. First I went immediately across the street 
to a very small adobe house with two rooms, in which sat in 
solemn conclave, a sub-committee of the great constituted 



24 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

criminal court of the city. On inquiry I found that the said 
sub-committee had been in session for about a week, endeavor- 
ing to extract confessions from the miserable culprits by a very 
refined process of questioning and cross-questioning, first by 
one of the committee, then by another, until the whole com- 
mittee would exhaust their ingenuity on the victim, when all 
of their separate results would be solemnly compared, and all 
of the discrepancies in the prisoner's statements would be 
brought back to him and he be required to explain and recon- 
cile the\n to suit the examining committee; and the poor devil, 
who doubtless was frightened so badly that he would hardly 
know one moment what he had said the moment previous, was 
held strictly accountable for any and all contradictions, and if 
not satisfactorily explained, was invariably taken by the wise 
heads of the said committee to be conclusive evidence of guilt, 
Six men were being tried, all Sonoranians, except one, Felipe 
Read, a half-breed Indian, whose father was a Scotchman ; all 
claimed, of course, to be innocent; finally one Reyes Feliz 
made a confession, probably under the hypothesis that hang- 
ing would be preferable to such inquisitorial torture as was be- 
ing practiced on him by the seven wise men of the Angels. 
Reyes said in his confession that he and his brother-in-law, 
Joaquin Murietta, with a few followers, had, about a year pre- 
vious, ran off the horses of Jim Thompson from the Brea 
ranch, and succeeded in getting them as far as the Tejon, then 
exclusively inhabited by Indians; that old Zapatero, the Tejon 
chief, on recognizing Jim Thompson's brand, arrested the 
whole party, some dozen in all, men and women, and stripped 
them all stark naked, tied them up, and had them whipped 
half to death, and turned loose to shift for themselves in the 
best way they could. Fortunately for the poor outcasts, they 
fell in with an American of kindred sympathies, who did what 
he could to relieve the distress of the forlorn thieves, who con- 
tinued their way as best they could toward the "Southern 



REMINISCENCES OF A BANGER. 25 

Mines" on the Stanislaus and Tuolumne, no mining being done 
south of those points at that time. In the meantime, brave 
old Zapatero, who was every inch a chief, sent Thompson's herd 
back to him — an act for which I hope Jim is to this day duly 
grateful. 

At the time this confession was made, Joaquin was walking 
around, as unconcerned as any other gentleman; but when the 
minions of the mob went to lay heavy hand upon him he was gone, 
and from that day until the day of his death, Joaquin Murietta 
was an outlaw and the terror of the southern counties. Until 
that confession he stood in this community with as good a char- 
acter as any other Mexican of his class. 

Reyes Feliz denied all knowledge of the murder of General 
Bean. One of the prisoners, Cipriano Sandoval, the village 
cobbler of San Gabriel, also, after having for several days 
maintained his innocence, and denied any and all knowledge of 
the murder, came out and made a full confession. He said he 
was on his way home from the maromas (rope-dancers) at 
about 11 o'clock one night, it being quite dark. He heard a 
shot, and then the footsteps of a man running toward him; 
that a moment after he came in violent contact with a man 
whom he at once recognized as Felipe Read. They mutually 
recognized each other, when Felipe said: Cipriano, I have just 
shot Bean. Here is five dollars; take it, say nothing about it, 
and when you want money come to me and get it." That was 
the sum total of his confession. All the others remained ob- 
durate, and what I have related was the sum of the informa- 
tion elicited by the seven days inquisition. The committee 
had certainly found the murderer of General Bean. 

The fact was, I believe, that Bean, who kept a bar at the 
Mission, had seduced Felipe's mistress, an Indian woman, away 
from him, and hence the assassination. Three days after my 
arrival the "'inquisitors" announced themselves as ready to re- 



26 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

port. In the meantime I went around taking notes in my 
mind. 

Los Angeles, at the time of my arrival, was certainly a nice 
looking place — the houses generally looked neat and clean, and 
were well whitewashed. There were three two-story adobe 
houses in the city, the most important of which is the present 
residence of Mrs. Bell, widow of the late Capt. Alex. Bell; 
then the Temple building, a substantial two-story, at the junc- 
tion of Main and Spring streets; and the old Casa Sanchez, on 
what is now Sanchez street. The lower walls of the latter are 
still there, the house having been razeed. The business of the 
place was very considerable; the most of the merchants were 
Jews, and all seemed to be doing a paying business. The fact 
was, they were all getting rich. The streets were thronged 
throughout the entire day with splendidly mounted and richly 
dressed caballeros, most of whom wore suits of clothes that cost 
all the way from $500 to $ 1,000, with, saddle and horse trappings 
that cost even more than the above named sums. Of one of the 
Lugos, I remember, it was said his horse equipments cost over 
$2,000. Everybody in Los Angeles seemed rich, everybody 
was rich, and money was more plentiful, at that time, than in 
any other place of like size, I venture to say, in the world. 

The question will at once suggest itself to the reader: Why 
was it that money was so plentiful in Los Angeles at the time 
referred to? I will inform him. The great rush to the gold 
mines had created a demand for beef cattle, and the years '48, 
'49 and '50 had exhausted the supply in the counties north of 
San Luis Obispo, and purchasers came to Los Angeles, then the 
greatest cow county of the State. The southern counties had 
enjoyed a succession of good seasons of rain and bountiful sup- 
ply of grass. The cattle and horses had increased to an un- 
precedented number, and the prices ranged from $20 to $35 per 
head, and a man was poor indeed who could not sell at the 
time one or two hundred head of cattle, and many of our first- 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 27 

class rancheros, for instance the Sepulvedas, Abilas, Lugos, 
Yorbas, Picos, Stearns, Rowlands and Williams, could sell a 
thousand head of cattle at any time and put the money in their 
pockets as small change, and as such they spent it. 

On the second evening after my arrival, in company with a 
gentleman, now of high standing in California, I went around 
to see the sights. We first went to the " El Dorado " and smiled 
at the bar. The " El Dorado " was a small frame building, a 
duplicate of the "Imprenta, " wherein the Star was published; 
the room below being used as a bar and billiard room, while 
the upper room was used as a dormitory. The place was kept 
by an elegant Irishman, John H. Hughes, said to have been a 
near kinsman of the late great church dignitary, Archbishop 
Hughes. John was a scholar, and without doubt, so far as 
manners and accomplishments went, was a splendid gentleman, 
and the whole community accorded to him the honor of being 
a good judge of whisky. The "El Dorado" was situated at 
about the southeast corner of the Merced theater. 

Along toward the spring of 1853, the Rev. Adam Bland, 
without the fear of the virtuous community before his eyes, 
purchased the " El Dorado, " pulled down its sacred sign, and 
profanely converted it into a Methodist church ! Alas, poor 
Hughes ! 1 believe it broke his heart. He never recovered 
from the blow. It broke his noble spirit, and a few years later, 
when a fair Senorita withheld her smiles from the brilliant 
Hughes, it was the feather that broke the camel's back, and 
the disconsolate Hughes joined the Crabbe filibustering expedi- 
tion to Sonora and was killed. 

From the " El Dorado " we betook ourselves to Aleck Gibson's 
gambling house on the plaza, where a well kept bar was in full 
blast, and some half dozen " monte banks " in successful opera- 
tion, each, table with its green baize cover, being literally heaped 
with piles of $50 ingots, commonly called " slugs. " Betting 
was high. You would frequently see a ranchero with an im- 



28 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

mense pile of gold in front of him, quietly and unconcernedly 
smoking his cigarrito and betting twenty slugs on the turn, the 
losing of which produced no perceptible discomposure of his 
grave countenance. For grave self-possession under difficult 
and trying circumstances, the Spaniard is in advance of all na- 
tionalities that I know of. 

From the great gambling house on the plaza we hied us to 
the classic precincts of the "Calle de los Negros," which was the 
most perfect and full grown pandemonium that this writer, 
who had seen the "elephant" before, and has been more than 
familiar with him under many phases since, has ever beheld. 
There were four or five gambling places, and the crowd from 
the old Coronel building on the Los Angeles street corner to 
the plaza was so dense that we could scarcely squeeze through. 
Americans, Spaniards, Indians and foreigners, rushing and 
crowding along from one gambling house to another, from 
table to table, all chinking the everlasting eight square $50 
pieces up and down in their palms. There were several bands 
of music of the primitive Mexican-Indian kind, that sent forth 
most discordant sound, by no means in harmony with the eter- 
nal jingle of gold — while at the upper end of the street, in the 
rear of one of the gambling houses was a Mexican "Maroma" 
in uproarious confusion. They positively made night hideous 
with their howlings. Every few minutes a rush would be 
made, and may be a pistol shot would be heard, and when the 
confusion incident to the rush would have somewhat subsided, 
and inquiry made, you would learn that it was only a knife 
fight between two Mexicans, or a gambler had caught some- 
body cheating and had perforated him with a bullet. Such 
things were a matter of course, and no complaint or arrests 
were ever made. An officer would not have had the temerity 
to attempt an arrest in "Negro Alley," at that time. 

I have no hesitation in saying that in the years of 1851, '52 
and '53, there were more desperadoes in Los Angeles than in any 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 29 

place on the Pacific coast, San Francisco with its great popu- 
lation not excepted. It was a fact, that all of the bad charac- 
ters who had been driven from the mines had taken refuge in 
Los Angeles, for the reason that if forced to move further on, 
it was only a short ride to Mexican soil, while on the other 
hand all of the outlaws of the Mexican frontier made for the 
California gold mines, and the cut-throats of California and 
Mexico naturally met at Los Angeles, and at Los Angeles they 
fought. Knives and revolvers settled all differences, either real 
or imaginary. The slightest misunderstandings were settled 
on the spot with knife or bullet, the Mexican preferring the 
former at close quarters and the American the latter. 

During the years of '52 and '53, it was a common and usual 
query at the bar or breakfast table, "well, how many were 
killed last night? " then "who was it ? " and " who killed him ? ' 
The year '53 showed an average mortality from fights and as- 
sassinations of over one per day in Los Angeles. In the year 
last referred to, police statistics showed a greater number of 
murders in California than in all the United States besides, 
and a greater number in Los Angeles than in all of the rest of 
California. The desperadoes set all law at defiance, Sheriffs 
and Marshals were killed at pleasure, and at one time the office 
of Sheriff, then worth $10,000 a year, went a begging; the 
wheels of Justice refused to revolve, no man could be found 
bold enough to come forward and accept the office, until Jim 
Thompson threw himself into the breach, as it were, and be- 
came Sheriff of Los Angeles county, when two predecessors had 
been assassinated within the year preceding his appointment. 
It is worthy of remark that Jim, being rich at the time, did 
not need or want the office, but accepted it solely on the urgent 
demand of the Courts of Justice. Robberies were of rare oc- 
currence, money being so plentiful and so easily obtained by 
gambling, that out-and-out robbery was not necessary. 

"Within the three or four days following my arrival, several 



30 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

men were pointed out to me as being first-class desperadoes, 
the most conspicuous of whom was "Crooked-nose Smith," 
who had killed his half-dozen men in the upper country, and 
when he did Los Angeles the honor of his presence, he gave 
out the comforting assurance that he would not kill any one 
until just before he would depart for Mexico. "Crooked Nose" 
was certainly a man of honor as well as a first-class artist, for 
he kept his promise to the very letter. On the day prior to his 
departure he did us the honor to furnish a first-class gambler 
for breakfast. He politely apologized for the interruption he 
had caused in the unusual quiet that had pervaded the atmos- 
phere of our beautiful city, by saying that he had not killed a 
man for six months, and he feared he might get his hand out. 
"Crooked Nose" was a very prince of a desperado, the admira- 
tion and envy of all of the small-fry members of the profession 
• 
who had as yet only killed their one or two men. 

"Cherokee Bob" was another artist of great merit, and was 
pointed out to me as a gentleman of great consequence, who 
had killed six Chilenos in one fight, and although he had been 
riddled with bullets and ripped and sliced with knives, yet he 
had never failed to get his man when he went for him. 

There were many other eminent characters who proudly 
walked the streets with all the pomp and circumstance of being 
looked up to by the commonality of mankind. In the inno- 
cent simplicity of my heart, 1 mentally exclaimed: Surely I 
am not only in the City of the Angels, but with the Angels 
here I dwell. 



REMINISCENCES OF A BANGER. 31 



CHAPTER II. 

Ricardo Urives— He Wipes Out Jim Irvin's Party— His Encounter with 
John G. Downey — A Bloody Affray in Nigger Alley— Ricardo Passes 
in His Checks — The Black Democrat — The Court of the Vigilance 
Committee — The Doomed Meii — The Gallows — Hanging Reyes Feliz, 
Sandoval and Three Others— The Arkansas Man as Hangman — The 
Last of the First Mob — Retribution — Fandango at the Moreno House— 
The Marshal — J. Thompson Burrell's Court and How it Was Adjourned 
—Granger and Ogier — The Mission Indians — A Slave Mart. 




author felt highly flattered at not only being per- 
mitted to breathe the same air, tread the same soil, 
but to actually live in the same town and to meet, 
pass and repass, on terms of absolute equality, such distin- 
guished men as those referred to. The privilege was certainly 
a great one, and the author, as aforesaid, was prone to feel and 
appreciate it to its fullest extent. Many other parties who 
had killed their half-dozen were pointed out, but, save and ex- 
cept one, I think "Crooked Nose" and "Bob" were the most 
entitled to mention. The exception above noted was a native 
Californian, named Ricardo Urives, who, in manner and ap- 
pearance, was the most perfect specimen of a desperado I ever 
beheld. Ricardo could stand more shooting and stabbing than 
the average bull or grizzly bear. I remember that on one 
lovely Sabbath afternoon, Ricardo got into a fight at the upper 
end of the Calle de los Negros, and was beset with a crowd 
fully intent on securing his scalp. He was attacked in front, 
rear and on each flank; he was shot, stabbed and stoned; his 
clothes were literally cut from his body. Still he fought his 
way, revolver in one hand, bowie knife in the other, all the 
way past the old Coronel corner to Aliso and Los Angeles 



32 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

streets, where his horse was hitched. He quietly mounted, 
bare-headed, bleeding from at least a score of wounds. The 
crowd had fallen back into the narrow street, where lay some 
half-dozen bleeding victims to bear witness to the certainty of 
Ricardo's aim. The writer had witnessed the sanguinary and 
desperate affair from the up-stairs verandah of Captain Bell's 
residence, on the corner of Los Angeles and Aliso streets ; and 
seeing that there were a multitude against one, felt greatly ex- 
cited in favor of the ope, and it was with a secret prayer of 
thanks that I saw the heroic fellow, who was so cut and carved 
that his own mother would have failed to recognize him, emerge 
from the crowded street, come to bay and drive his pursuers 
back. What then was my surprise to see him deliberately ride 
back to the place whence he had so miraculously escaped. 

It seemed that he had fired the last shot from his heavy 
Colt, for when he charged through the street he used his re- 
volver as a war-club, and scattered and drove his enemies like 
sheep. He then rode off into what is now called Sonora and 
got his wounds bandaged up. It afterwards transpired that 
he had been shot three times in the body, and stabbed all over. 
He then put in a full hour riding up and down Main street in 
front of the Bella Union, daring any gringo officer to arrest 
him. None being bold enough to make the attempt, the gentle 
Ricardo took his quiet departure for the " Rancho de los Coy- 
otes," then the property of his sister. 

Ricardo was brave, an army of one hundred thousand of his 
likes would be invincible. But Ricardo's courage was that of 
the lion or the tiger, and like those barons of the brute crea- 
tion, when brought face to face with moral as well as physical 
courage, the animal bravery of the desperado would quail. One 
day a quiet young gentleman was passing through Nigger Al- 
ley, and found Don Ricardo on the war path. He was tor- 
menting, berating and abusing every one who came in his way, 
and was particular in his abuse of a young Mexican, who 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 33 

seemed to be a stranger, and to be greatly frightened. The 
young gentleman stopped for a moment, and authoritatively 
ordered the domineering Don to desist. The astonishment of 
Ricardo was beyond description. He looked contemptuously 
at the young man for a minute, then quietly drawing his bowie 
started deliberately tor him, when, in an instant, he was cov- 
ered with a small revolver, and commanded to stop. "One 
more step," said the gringo, "and you are a dead man." With 
his eye he caught that of Ricardo, and gazed fixedly into his 
terrible, tiger-like orbs. Ricardo halted and commenced to 
threaten. "Put up that knife/' said the young gringo. Ri- 
cardo flourished his knife and swore. "Stop that," said the 
gringo, with his eyes still riveted on those of the human 
hyena. The Don stopped. Then once more, "Put up that 
knife, or I will shoot you dead." Ricardo sheathed his bowie. 
" Vayasse," " Begone," said the gringo, and to the utter aston- 
ishment of the congregated crowd, Ricardo turned and slunk 
away. At this juncture Jim Barton, the Sheriff, with a party, 
arrived on the scene, and congratulated the victorious gringo on 
his achievement, and then and not until then, did the gentle- 
man know of the desperate character of his antagonist. It 
was a fine example of moral and physical over mere brute cour- 
age. The young gringo referred to, then a stranger, afterward 
became Governor of the great State of California, and in dis- 
charge of the high trust confided to him, displayed the same 
degree of moral courage that first manifested itself in the mot- 
ley crowd in Calle de Los Negros, and made the best Gov- 
ernor, possibly, our State ever had. The young gringo and ex- 
Governor John G. Downey are one and the same. 

It will be the duty of the chronicler to make one more men- 
tion of the redoubtable Ricardo, and then permit him to hand 
in his checks. I think it was about a year after the great fight 
above referred to, which took place in the summer of 1853, that 
a bullet hit the Don in a vital part and sent him to " kingdom 



34 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

come." It is somewhat of a digression, but I may as well tell 
the story now as at any time. It was in 1851 that Jim Irvin, 
with a gang of desperadoes to the number of twenty-five or 
thirty, stopped at Los Angeles on their way to Mexico, in 
search of ladies fair and pastures green. Some of the gang 
found some friends in jail, and soon to be tried in the District 
Court, then sitting in the old Bella Union. Jim concluded to 
take the prisoners out of the hands of the Sheriff, and take 
them along with him, and waited for them to be brought out 
for trial with that object in view. It happened that a party of 
United States troops were temporarily camped near the city, 
and it was arranged that they should put in an appearance just 
at the time the prisoners were to be brought in. The Court 
opened. Jim Irvin marched in with his gang and grimly 
awaited the arrival of the prisoners, who were presently at 
hand, and at the same instant a platoon of troops drew up be- 
fore the door, and an officer came into Court with the Sheriff. 
Jim and his gang were given permission to leave the country, 
otherwise they would be arrested. 

"There was mounting 'monp grearaes of the Netherby clan; 
Fosters, Fenwicks, and Musgraves, they rode and they ran." 

The above lines can well be applied to Irvin's gang, who were 
ready and willing to override the civil officers, but were quite 
loth to an encounter with United States dragoons. They went 
directly to the Coyotes Ranch, thirty miles from the city, on 
the road to Mexico. On their arrival in the evening, they sur- 
prised the ranch and made a hostage of Ricardo, whom they 
tied up and threatened to shoot unless he had the best horses 
the ranch could afford driven up, ready for their inspection, by 
daylight in the morning. All of their demands were complied 
with to the very letter. Supper was prepared for them, wine 
set out, and they were permitted without objection to appro- 
priate what articles they chose, such as saddles, blankets, pro- 
visions, etc., and the ranch at the time was one of the richest 



• REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 35 

and best supplied in the county. Sefior Ocampo and wife were 
then in the city, and Ricardo was major domo, and in charge of 
the estate. 

In the morning, after appropriating what they wanted of the 
most valuable horses, the gang packed up and left, immedi- 
ately after which Ricardo was released. Without saying a 
word, or leaving an order, he mounted a horse. He had under- 
stood enough of the conversation carried on between the robbers 
to know that they were going to the Colorado river, and would 
go through the San Gorgonio Pass. He started in hot haste 
across the Chino Hills to get in ahead of the party, whom he 
had doomed to destruction. Long before the glorious orb of 
day ceased to cast his beaming rays on the hoaiy head of grim 
old Mt. San Bernardino, Ricardo lay in silent ambush with a 
chosen band of Cahuilla Indians, who, at, the time, were nu- 
merous in the vicinity of San Gorgonio. They had not long to 
wait. About sunset the devoted party came in sight, hilari- 
ous, as only men can be who have no thought beyond 
the immediate present. They rode quietly into the ambush 
and were slaughtered to a man. The Indians, v/ho thought it 
to be a perfectly legitimate transaction, gave a minute account 
of the affair, and said that Ricardo fought like a fiend incar- 
nate ; and while they ( the Indians ) fought from their place of 
concealment, Ricardo rushed forth on horseback, and, meeting 
his foes face to face, let them know that he was the avenger of 
his own wrongs. 

The author had the gorgeous honor of eating beef stewed in 
red pepper, beans and tortillas, at Ricardo's table, partak- 
ing of his hospitality under his own roof-tree, and discussing 
this whole question with him ; and, while placing him in the 
front rank of desperadoes, it is only justice to say that, though 
desperate he emphatically was, he was neither robber nor gam- 
bler, but a good-hearted, honest fellow, who just fought for the 
very love of fighting, for fighting was the order of the day, and 



36 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

a man who could not fight was forced into a back seat, like the 
poor boy at the frolic. 

On the day following my arrival in this famed city of the 
South, then by some designated "the City of Vineyards," I 
betook myself to the city barber, Peter Biggs by name, after- 
ward and during the days of the great sectional strife known as 
the "Black Democrat." "Don Pedro," so styled by his Mexi- 
can friends, was a famous character, and the writer proposes to 
do his best in conferring the meed of immortality where it so 
justly belongs, in trying to do justice to the memory of this il- 
lustrious and necessary appendage to Los Angeles society, who, 
for the period of a quarter of a century, or more, certainly 
made himself known and felt in certain quarters of this emi- 
nently virtuous community. Pete advertised in the Star to 
"' shave and shampoo, wait on the gentlemen, run eirands, and 
make himself generally useful." Pete vras a Virginian, so he 
informed me while for the first time submitting to his barber- 
ous manipulations, and came here as the servant of Captain A. 
J. Smith, of the dragoons, afterwards famed as General com- 
manding the 16th army corps of Sherman's army ; that he had 
made a great deal of money in various speculations ; that he 
had married a Spanish lady ; that the community, " 'specially 
de ladies and gentlemen/' could by no means get along without 
him. He said he knew all of the ladies, and sometimes carried 
messages from gentlemen to them, and was always ready and 
more than happy to introduce a stranger to female society, and 
to act as interpreter when occasion demanded. At this point 
Pete came to a period, seemingly anticipating that the author 
would make some pertinent remark ; failing in which, Pete 
broke the embarrassing silence by saying : " Would ye like to 
make de 'quaintance of some of de ladies ? " I thereupon in- 
formed him that 1 had friends here who would in all proba- 
bility introduce me into such female society as would be proper 
for one of my youth and inexperience to know, and at the same 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 37 

time informed him who my friends were, at which Pete seemed 
for a moment " run chock-a-block," but soon rallied and said : 
" You see I doesn't mean ladies ob dat high-up class ; I means 
de kind ob ladies dat's always anxious to make de 'quaintance 
ob strangers ; 'specially dose dats got plenty ob de spondulix." 

This eminently pious historian was then a most unsophisti- 
cated youth, but he had read " Gil Bias," and lost little time 
in arriving at the conclusion that Don Pedro occupied the same 
relative position toward the resident female Angels, that the 
renowned Gil occupied toward the Prince of Spain. 

It is said the first '•' corner " ever made in California, was 
made on tacks. A shrewd Yankee, in 1849, observing that 
tacks were indispensable in all mining and building operations, 
and that the wheels of progress would cease to revolve if the 
supply of tacks was cut off for even a day, went to work and 
bought up all of the tacks in San Francisco and all of the in- 
voices on the way around the Horn, to arrive within the next 
three months. The result was he monopolized the tack trade, 
and sold tacks for gold, ounce for ounce, and thereby made a 
splendid fortune. The next and second " corner " made was in 
" cats," and that was made by the renowned subject of this 
sketch, and this is the way he did it: 

In 1849, San Francisco was over-supplied with rats, without 
a corresponding supply of cats. The supply of cats in Los 
Angeles was over-abundant, while of rats there were few. It 
was therefore left to the fertile brain of this distinguished Vir- 
ginian to equalize this great seeming inequality in the nature 
of things. Consequently he went to work and gathered up all 
of the cats he could get, either by hook or crook ( rumor had 
it that the most of the feline merchandise was obtained by the 
former process ) caged them up and shipped them, to San Fran- 
cisco. Having the only cats in market, and cats being a ne- 
cessity, Pete was supreme dictator as to prices, and sold his 
cats, several hundred in number, at prices ranging at from $16 



38 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

to $100 each, and thereby made a handsome fortune. Alas, 
poor Pete ! His riches soon took wings. 

Like all great men of the period, Pete was addicted to gam- 
bling, and the product of his magnificent cat speculation went 
to fill the coffers of the gambler princes of the Bay City. It 
was said that Pete lost every dollar, and though broken in for- 
tune the fertility of his resources still stood him in hand. Two 
coops of cats were left exposed to the wind and weather, on 
the vessel, and some 100 cats were drowned. Pete sought 
counsel from some adventurous limb of the law, who had the 
vessel libeled and forced a compromise in Pete's favor to the 
amount of several hundred dollars. With the small portion 
thereof pertaining to himself, the crestfallen forestaller of the 
San Francisco cat market returned to the bosom of his devoted 
Angel, a wiser it not a richer man. 

Pete was an unfortunate cuss, always in some scrape, one of 
which I am going to relate. It happened in 1851 that a great 
ball was given at the house where now stands the First National 
Bank. It was attended by all of the hard cases of the city, 
among whom was that celebrated character Aleck Bell, of whom 
more will be said hereafter. The ball opened, the music struck 
up, and Aleck presented himself before the belle of the ball- 
room, Doria Ramona, sometimes known as Mrs. Fremont, for 
the reason 1 believe that this well known lady of the demi- 
monde had cast the sunshine of her maiden affection on the con- 
quering hero, General Fremont, when he set himself up as mili- 
tary Governor of California. Aleck asked the honor of her 
hand in the opening waltz. The Senorita graciously informed 
the gallant Aleck that she was engaged for the first dance, but 
he could certainly be gratified in the second. Aleck retired to 
the crowd of lookers-on, highly delighted at the prospective 
pleasure, and awaited the coming event. Finally the music 
commenced, and what was Aleck's disgust at beholding the 
rascally Pete, in all the glory of a swallow-tailed coat, brass 



REMINISCENCES OF A BANGER. 39 

buttons, white vest and gloves, redolent with all the perfume 
of " Araby the blest," shuffle up to the much coveted belle of 
the ball-room, and with one arm encircling her spider-like 
waist, sail off in the whirling, giddy waltz. This was more 
than Southern blood could stand, and out came Aleck's Colt. 
The music was stopped and Aleck stepped up to Dona Rauiona, 
and inquired of her if she " preferred dancing with a nigger to 
a white man." She replied that " in this particular instance 
she did; that Don Pedro was 'El Bastoinero,' (master of cere- 
monies) and she deemed it a high privilege to accompany him 
in the opening waltz." This was adding insult to injury. 
Aleck's chivalry would not permit him to lay violent hands on 
the lady, but satisfaction he mu§t have. So he blazed away at 
Pete, who bolted for the door with Aleck hot after him. In 
the meantime, and on the instant, as was always the case when 
a row was raised, the gentlemen present commenced shooting 
the lights out, as a matter of amusement, in which one in- 
dividual was accidentally perforated. Pete gained the street 
and started off like a quarter horse down Main street. It so 
happened that General Bean's volunteers then occupied the 
city, which at that particular time had on a big Indian scare. 
Every street corner had a posted sentinel, while small mounted 
parties patrolled the suburbs. Escaping from the scene of gay 
festivities and threatened assassination, the hapless Pete, in 
passing the United States Hotel corner, narrowly escaped death 
from the sentry, who let fly at him. At the American Bakery 
corner he was treated to another fusilade, which drew to the 
place a mounted patrol, who, when made aware of the situa- 
tion, dashed off in full chase. Coming up with the unfortunate 
fugitive at about the point where the Bound House now stands, 
they turned loose on him with their revolvers, but the noble 
" Democrat " escaped into the vineyard on the left without so 
much as a scratch; but, said Pete: "De good Lord knows dis 
chile nebber stopped running till he got to San Pedro." 



40 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

Many, at the time, thought that the poor fellow had been 
mortally wounded, and had got into some hiding-place and died. 
The whole town grieved, none more so than Aleck Bell, who 
had the best of feeling toward the gallant Don Pedro, and only 
tried to murder him in vindication of his outraged chivalry. 

In a day or two, however, Pete sent a courier to the city, to 
the great relief of everybody, with an apology to the Americans 
in general, and to Captain Bell in particular, and promised 
that, if permitted to return, to ever after keep his place — a 
promise religiously kept by him so far as the Americans were 
concerned. 

During the great civil war, like many other great men, Pete 
felt his allegiance to be due to his native Virginia — first, last, 
and always — and accordingly gave the weight of his influence 
to the "Lost Cause;" hence the cognomen of "Black Demo- 
crat." 

Like most of the truly eminent characters of our early history, 
Pete died with his boots on, after having been the hero of many 
bloody scrimmages, and his taking off occurred in this way: 
Pete, in company with another gentleman, went into a restaurant 
in the Signoret building and ordered dinner. The Mexican 
waiter, while serving them, was deemed guilty of some breach 
of conventional good manners, and as none knew better how to 
wait on a gentleman, none were more exacting in demanding 
the utmost punctilio on the part of those who waited on him. 
So, for his delinquency, Pete commenced to hurl epithets, ac- 
companied with cups, saucers and plates at the waiter, who 
waited until Spanish forbearance could wait no longer, when he 
responded by shying a carving-knife, which perforated a vital 
part of Pete's body and sent him to Abraham's bosom. 

We all felt the loss of Pete to be irreparable. His place has 
not been, and probably never will be, supplied. Many mourn- 
ers followed the great man to his last resting-place. His slayer 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 41 

walks our streets to-day, of course proudly conscious of having 
killed a distinguished character. 

I believe it was about the fourth day after my arrival that 
the prisoners, who had been undergoing examination before the 
sub-committee, were brought to the Court House, where the 
final report of the committee was to be submitted to the great 
self-constituted court of justice-loving Americans. 

Abbott's bath house was then used as a Court House, and a 
high old court it was, too, I assure you. The place was packed 
to suffocation, with a dense crowd outside. " Old Horse-Face " 
presided over the court. The report of the committee was first 
read on the case of Reyes Feliz, and the President then in sol- 
emn voice said : " Gentlemen, the court is now ready to hear 
any motion." Whereupon a ferocious looking gambler mounted 
a bench and said : 

" I move that Reyes Feliz be taken to the hill and hung by 
the neck until he be dead." 

" All in favor of the motion will signify the same by saying 
' aye ' ! " said the President, gravely. 

II Aye ! aye ! aye ! " yelled the mob, and Reyes Feliz was a 
doomed man. The same ceremony was gone through with in 
all the other cases, including Cipriano Sandoval, the poor inno- 
cent village cobbler of San Gabriel. 

When they came to the case of the real murderer, a motion 
was made that " Felipe Read be turned over to the legally con- 
stituted authorities," and, strange to say, the motion was car- 
ried without a dissenting vote. Felipe, the red-handed mur- 
derer, was accordingly turned over to the Sheriff, and imme- 
diately thereafter bailed and set at liberty. No effort was ever 
made to bring him to justice, and he died in his bed some years 
later in a natural way. So much for the wisdom of a mob. 

All of this occurred on a Saturday, and the following day 
was set for carrying into execution the sentences of the court. 
By the time the town was astir next morning the ugly gallows 



42 . REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

could be seen on Fort Hill, with its horrid arms extended, as 
though defying the vengeance of man, or invoking the God of 
Justice. At 9 o'clock a herald paraded the streets, ringing a 
large dinner bell, and with loud voice summoning the faithful 
to the feast; and at about the same hour heavy clouds over- 
spread the sky, as though an angel had in charity thrown its 
mantle over the scene to shut out the horrid spectacle from the 
face of heaven, and it commenced to rain. An hour later the 
crowd, with the condemned men, arrived at the gallows. Old 
Father Anacleto, with his shorn crown bared to the storm, his 
sacred robes drabbled with mud and dripping with water, to- 
tally oblivious to the surrounding tumult, thoroughly absorbed 
in his mission of mercy, devotedly accompanied the doomed 
culprits, administering the sweet consolations of the church, 
and so, with the executioner and the doomed men, he mounted 
the scaffold. When all was ready, the victims were given per- 
mission to speak. All maintained a dogged silence except the 
poor cobbler Sandoval, who made a brief speech. He hoped 
the great God would pardon his murderers as he pardoned 
them, and said that he died innocent, without a crime. They 
all kissed the crucifix, the rope was cut, the trap fell, and the 
five men were launched into eternity. A peal of thunder an- 
nounced the end of the tragedy. 

Slowly and silently the crowd dispersed. The rain com- 
menced to fall in torrents, and the grim bar-tender of the Bella 
Union reaped a golden harvest on that gloomy Sabbath after- 
noon. The murdered men were taken down and perhaps buried 
by friendly Christian hands, and so ended the first great lynch- 
ing in this very moral and justice-loving community. I say 
the first great lynching. I will, however, qualify by saying 
that some months previous, one Zabalete had been hung by the 
lynchers. 

The author retired early on that evening, pondering sadly 
and solemnly over tbe events of the day, and could not refrain 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 43 

from thinking that humanity would have been greatly benefit- 
ted, if about four-fifths of that mob had been disposed of in 
the same way as had been the hapless Mexicans who were 
hung. 

There is an old and trite saying that " great revolutions 
bring to the surface great men." Such was the case in this in- 
stance. An immigrant from Arkansas had been stalking 
around the streets for some days previous, in a ragged and half- 
clad condition. Like Jonah, he perceived an opening and 
stepped in. He came forward and offered his services for a 
consideration, to act as executioner. A purse was accordingly 
raised in his behalf, and the great man from Arkansas became 
the hangman of the mob. The day following the lynching, the 
uncouth Arkansas man appeared on the streets dressed in the 
very extreme of elegant and expensive fashion. He soon there- 
after became the village pedagogue, and advertised in the Star 
" a school for boys and girls." At the next municipal election, 
the elegant hangman was honored by our people by being 
elected City Marshal, and thereby hangs a tale, which I will 
now unfold. 

About June, 1853, the southern counties were overrun by 
Mexican banditti, and two companies of Rangers were raised, 
one in Calaveras county and one here in Los Angeles. On Sunday 
night at about 9 o'clock, the Marshal appeared at the Ranger 
barracks, then located at the corner of Los Angeles and Requena 
streets, where Messmer's wine-store now is. He asked for a de- 
tail to go to a fandango at the Moreno Houso, then located at 
the south end of the present Brooks building, to arrest some 
thieves known to be at the ball at the Moreno's. The men 
were promptly furnished, and they started to the place of up- 
roarious enjoyment. The Marshal, however, made an excuse 
to go home and get an extra revolver, and the party of Rangers, 
arriving at the fandango found everything so agreeable, that 
instead of making arrests they were immediately taken into 



44 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

custody by an overwhelming array of black-eyed Seiloritas, and 
in the giddy mazes of the dance and under the exhilarating in- 
fluences of Los Angeles wine, soon became oblivious of the Mar- 
shal, Mexican thieves, and all else save and except the wine and the 
women aforesaid. So the time gayly glided by until long past 
midnight, when the dance broke up and the Rangers bethought 
themselves of their mission and the Marshal. They accordingly 
held a consultation, and arrived at the conclusion that the 
Marshal had played them a shabby trick. They at once pro- 
ceeded to the official residence, and found the delinquent chief 
in the arms of his newly wedded bride, who, by the by, had 
another husband, then living, I believe, at El Monte. They 
woke him up, and informed him that they had had a bloody fight 
at the fandango, that two of their number had been killed, that 
a large force of thieves held the fandango house, that the 
whole Ranger company were under arms, and that the Captain 
desired the presence of the Marshal, and that he would march 
on the f?*ndango house, and make mince-meat of the Mexican 
outlaws, etc. 

Notwithstanding the Rangers demanded expedition on the 
part of the police official, it required at least half an hour for 
him to make his [toilet. At last, with a patient effort, he suc- 
ceeded in stretching a splendid kid glove over his immense paw, 
and with his gold-headed cane under his arm he stepped into 
the street. Where'upon a couple of stalwart Rangers took hold 
of him by each arm, and informed him that he was a prisoner. 
They conducted him to the great open water ditch that then 
crossed San Pedro street at its junction with First. Arriving 
there a court-martial was organized, which proceeded to try the 
Marshal on a charge of treason and desertion. Of course he 
was found guilty, and the military code was read to him from 
a greasy pack of " monte cards." After defining the crime, the 
penalty was fixed at " cat-hauling in the public water-ditch." 
No sooner said than done. A rope was speedily thrown around 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 45 

the astonished representative of official pomposity, whose arms 
were pinioned, and the irate Bangers amused themselves until 
the break of day in dragging the proud dignitary up and down 
the water ditch, when they left him more dead than alive 
and retired to their barracks. At about noon on the same day 
the crestfallen man from Arkansas appeared at the Court of 
Justice J. Thompson Burrill, and swore out a warrant for the 
arrest of the Hangers, who were accordingly arrested, and ap- 
peared for trial on the following day. Kimball H. Dimrnick, 
the District Attorney, appeared in vindication of the outraged 
majesty of the law, and Tom H , a young merchant, ap- 
peared for the accused Bangers. Dimmick and Tom at once 
commenced the preliminary legal sparring. Dimrnick was light 
on law, and Tom was heavy on big words. Dimmick finally 
cornered Tom on a legal proposition, and Tom could only escape 
by adjourning Court, which he did by capsizing the Court, 
bench and all, whereupon the Bangers went to work and 
smashed the tables, broke the chairs, and tore things up gen- 
erally, the Court, constable and prosecuting witness promptly 
giving leg-bail, and so ended this remarkable episode. And so 
ended the official career of that illustrious character, born of 
the first great Los Angeles mob. His usefulness as an officer 
was at an end. The boys would hoot him on the street, and 

• 

he was forced to resign. 

I will now relate one more incident in the brief official career 
of this distinguished character, then I will consign him to the 
life of vagabondism that he has led down to the present day. 
It was in this way: About May, '53, the Los Angeles bar got 
on a bust, in honor of the arrival of an Iowa lawyer, General 
Ezra Drown. The bar smiled at the Bella Union bar, and took 
it straight and mixed at the " Montgomery." They all in turn 
treated at Aleck Gibson's and raided on Nigger alley. They 
serenaded on Main street, and finally brought up at Madam 
Barrierre's, where the White House now stands, and ordered 



46 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

champagne and cigars first, then supper, with champagne and 
cigars ad libitum. And then the jolly crowd appointed a chair- 
man and commenced giving and responding to each other's 
toasts. On their whole rounds they were accompanied by the 
pompous Marshal, who pretended to afford his official protec- 
tion to the roystering limbs of the law, but really to get a 
deluging supply of gratuitous liquid comfort. 

About midnight the crowd had become hilariously noisy, 
and all wanted to speak at once. Lewis C. Granger had the 
floor, and offered as a toast, " The descendants of the French 
Huguenots in America." The toast was intended as a com- 
pliment to the United States District Attorney, who claimed to 
be of " Huguenot origin," although his paternal ancestors were 
thought to be of the Hibernian stock. He, however, construed 
the toast into an insult, and responded by hurling a tumbler at 
the head of Lewis C., and then the North and the South met 
in mortal combat. What the result might have been, no one 
of that crowd was sober enough to even surmise, had it not 
been for the interposition of the officious head of the infantile 
city police, whose head and tail was composed of the Marshal 
aforesaid, who rushed between the two combatants. Lewis C. 
rery adroitly slipped to one side, and the furious United States 
legal luminary downed the Arkansas man, and chawed his nose 
until it resembled a magnificent pounded and peppered beef- 
steak. 

On the following day the Marshal appeared at Thompson 
Burrill's Court, with his nose in a sling, and had the United 
States Attorney arrested on a charge of assaulting an officer in 
the discharge of his duty, but the thing was amicably arranged 
and the high Federal dignitary did the self-important Los An- 
geles official the honor to walk arm in arm with him to the 
Bella Union, where they smiled at the bar and swore eternal 
friendship. 

The author will neither attempt to moralize or criticise, nor 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 47 

pass judgment on the action of that vigilance committee; only 
that in the minds of unprejudiced persons at the time, the hang- 
ing of the poor village cobbler of San Gabriel was considered an 
unmitigated and deliberate murder. ^e has ere this, in all 
probability, met and confronted his murderers at the judgment 
seat of the great Eternal, for the reason that, as the author be- 
lieves, the last actor in that outrageous affair has passed away 
from the face of the earth. Some may have died in a natural 
way, many died in the gutter, others in bloody broils — they all 
seemed doomed to miserable ends. All have handed in their 
mortal checks, unless, perchance, the gay and pompous official 
aforesaid, the hangman, who now walks the face of God's beau- 
tiful green earth, a living and hideous mass of human rotten- 
ness and festering corruption, shunned even by the canine street 
scavengers, viewed not with pity, but with loathing and disgust, 
even by the most debased of mankind. Twenty-four years after 
his outrageous participation in the bloody drama above de- 
scribed, the hangman appeared on the streets of this fair city, 
an outcast from society and a beggar for alms. The wheels of 
justice revolve slowly, but in this instance they seem to have 
got around with remarkable precision. For such is the last of 
the first great mob of Los Angeles. 

For the week following these extra judicial executions the 
town was remarkably quiet, but on the Sunday following I wit- 
nessed a sight that if it could be seen now would fill the mind 
with loathing and disgust. At the time referred to, 1851-52- 
53, the Mission Indians were numerous. They had only been 
emancipated from the rule of the Mission fathers a few years 
prior to the advent of the Americans, and their number at the 
time seemed without limit. 

These thousands of Indians had been held in the most rigid 
discipline by the Mission fathers, and after their emancipation 
by the Supreme Government of Mexico, had been reasonably 
well governed by the local authorities, who found in them in- 



48 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

dispensable auxiliaries as farmers and harvesters, hewers of 
wood and drawers of water, and besides the best horse breakers 
and herders in the world, an indispensable adjunct in the man- 
agement of the great herds of the country. These Indians 
were Christians, docile even to servility, and the best of 
laborers. Then came the Americans, followed soon there- 
after by the discovery of and wild rush for gold, and the relaxa- 
tion for the time of a health} administration of the laws, and 
the ruin of those once happy and useful people commenced. 
The cultivators of vineyards commenced paying their Indian 
peons with aguardiente, a veritable fire-water and no mistake. 
The consequence was that on being paid off on Saturday even- 
ing, they would meet in great gatherings called peons, and 
pass the night in gambling, drunkenness and debauchery. 
On Sunday the streets would be crowded from morn till night 
with Indians, males and females of all ages, from the girl of 
ten or twelve, to the old man $ind woman of 70 or 80. 

By four o'clock on Sunday afternoon Los Angeles street from 
Commercial to Nigger alley, Aliso street from Los Angeles to 
Alameda, and Nigger alley, would be crowded with a mass of 
drunken Indians, yelling and fighting. Men and women, boys 
and girls, tooth and toe nail, sometimes, and frequently with 
knives, but always in a manner that would strike the beholder 
with awe and horror. 

About sundown the pompous marshal, with his Indian 
special deputies, who had been kept in jail all day to keep them 
sober, would drive and drag the herd to a big corral in the rear 
of Downey Block, where they would sleep away their intoxica- 
tion, and in the morning they would be exposed for sale, as 
slaves for the week. Los Angeles had its slave mart, as well 
as New Orleans and Constantinople — only the slave at Los 
Angeles was sold fifty-two times a year as long as he lived, 
which did not generally exceed one, two, or three years, under 
the new dispensation. They would be sold for a week, and 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 49 

bought up by the vineyard men and others at prices ranging 
from one to three dollars, one-third of which was to be paid to 
the peon at the end of the week, which debt, due for well per- 
formed labor, would invariably be paid in " aguardiente," and 
the Indian would be made happy until the following Monday 
morning, having passed through another Saturday night and 
Sunday's saturnalia of debauchery and bestiality. Those 
thousands of honest, useful people were absolutely destroyed in 
this way. Vineyards were of great profit in those days, and 
would be to-day, if we could recall the times as they were be- 
fore the conquering Sas!on came with his boasted perfection of 
laws, and his much-vaunted " advance civilization." 

Surely, we civilized the race of Mission Indians with a refine- 
ment known to no other people under the sun. 

• 

The poor Indians are all gone, the crumbling walls of the 
old Missions and the decaying trunks of the vineyards, no 
longer profitable when cultivated with honestly compensated 
labor, stand silent witnesses of the time long gone by, when 
the Indian, though compelled to labor, was happy and content 
in viewing the groaning granaries that assured him and his an 
ample support. 




50 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 




CHAPTER III. 

More Lynching — Disgraceful Proceedings — Smith and a Mexican are 
Whipped on the Plaza — Tossing a Man in a Blanket — A Broken Neck — 
Even Change— Thompson Burrill and Dona Concha.— A. Man Gets 
Married- -The Jlairless Dog — Jack Powers and His Great Influence — 
He defies the Law — Emigrates to Sonora and is Murdered — Alas ! Poor 
Jack — Los Angeles the Hot-bed of Revolution — Castro's Pronuncia- 
mento — Micheltorena — Gringo Versus Gringo, and the Great Three 
Days Battle of Providencia — Blood, "God and Liberty" — Bandini's 
Revolution — The Founding of Los Angeles — Navarro's Dream. 



SHORT time after the hanging of Reyes Feliz, San- 
doval and the others heretofore mentioned, Smith was 
arrested at San Gabriel, summarily tried by a hastily 
constituted lynch court and sentenced to be hung instanter. 
He was accordingly mounted on a Mexican cart, which was 
promptly driven under one of the many great oaks there 
abounding, a rope was adjusted to his neck, fastened to one 
of the branches above, and the goad was about to be applied 
to the innocent oxen that were attached to the cart, when old 
Taylor, from the Monte, put in an appearance and interposed in 
behalf of Smith. 

Taylor's influence prevailed, and Smith was turned over to 
Constable Frank Baker, I believe, who brought him to town, 
and he was duly lodged in jail. The city lynch court there- 
upon held a meeting, which was addressed by a burly looking 
individual, who was quite emphatic, even to eloquence, in his 
denunciations ot the manner in which the law was adminis- 
tered ; the great expense that would accrue to the county in 
the sham prosecution of felons, the over-taxed people, and all 
that sort of stuff. The Speaker himself was a non-taxpayer, 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 51 

and those who most emphatically agreed with him being of the 
same class. It was finally moved and carried that Smith 
should be disposed of in an economical way, that is, he should 
be at once taken out of jail, given a fair trial, and, if found 
guilty, hung; if innocent, turned loose. No sooner said than 
acted upon. The eloquent and emphatic speaker aforesaid 
constituted himself leader of the mob and started for the jail, 
followed by the ragtag and bobtail of the gambling fraternity. 
The old adobe house of Dr. Bush, situated on the hill in the 
rear of the Lafayette Hotel, was then used as a jail, and 
George Whitehorn was jailer. There was a big pine log 
extending from end to end of the long room in the said house, 
with staples driven into it at intervals of three or four feet, to 
which were chained the prisoners, whose feet were shackled 
with cross chains, with a center chain about a foot long 
fastened to the staple and pine log aforesaid, so that the only 
chance of escape would have been for the prisoners to walk off 
with the log, and it was a great wonder they didn't do it, 
because they were strung out on that log like a string of fresh 
fish. That was a gay old pioneer jail. George made some 
show of resistance, but was soon overpowered, the keys taken 
away from him. the door opened, the staple drawn out of the 
pine log and Smith was marched down town and placed under 
guard in the little adobe house before referred to. A com- 
mittee was at once appointed to take testimony, and by this 
time night had set in. They proved nothing whatever against 
Smith, although he said in old times in Sacramento, in 1850, 
when the great horse market was in full blast at the corner of 
Sixth and K streets, he used to go out and drive in immigrant 
stock to be sold at auction, "but then," he said, "everybody 
did the same, you know." 

At two o'clock on the following day the committee announced 
themselves as ready to report, and the herald with the dinner 
bell went round proclaiming that there was to be a meeting of 
the people at the Court House. 



52 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

By four o'clock the crowd had assembled, the court was 
organized, and the evidence against Smith was formally read. 

Then said the President : " Gentlemen, what is your pleas- 
ure?" A fellow elevated himself and said : " I move that 
Smith be taken to the Plaza and given fifty lashes on the bare 
back and then turned loose." 

The proposition was voted down and Smith complacently 
smiled. 

Charley Norris then moved that Smith be given eighty-five 
lashes on the bare back and be turned over to the United States 
officers at Jurupa as a deserter. Unanimously carried. 

About this time a gambler came in from Nigger Alley 
having in custody a Mexican who had severely cut a pie vendor 
with a knife, because the boy had refused him credit. The 
court proposed hanging him forthwith when a chivalrously in- 
clined gambler suggested that fifty lashes would be a sufficient 
punishment. So the court voted him eighty-five, and took up 
its line of march to Aleck Gibson's, on the plaza. An Indian 
then put in an appearance with an armfull of stout willow 
switches, and the gentlemen were invited to shed their linen. 
Then the Mexican culprit dramatically came to the front and 
begged the privilege of being whipped first, saying that he was 
a man of honor, was no thief, had only used his knife when 
insulted, and he thought he was entitled to that much consid- 
eration. The gentlemen appointed to carry into execution 
the sentence of the court graciously granted the request, and 
the hidalgo, stripped, was tied up to a wooden column in front 
of the house and the Indian stepped forward with an air of 
intense satisfaction and gave the " Jente de razon " a most 
unmerciful whipping, to the great delight of the assembled 
patriots. The Mexican bore the punishment with the most 
stoical fortitude. He then quietly resumed his rayment, 
"smiled," that is, he took a drink furnished gratuitously, and 
remarked : 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 53 

" Now I will have the pleasure of seeing this d — d gringo 
whipped." 

Smith, whose time had now arrived, came forward with his 
shackles and chains still on and said, "Gentlemen, I am an 
American; and it is disgrace enough to be publicly whipped, 
but surely you will not have a gentleman whipped by an 
Injun. If there is an American present who will be kind 
enough to come forward and lay them on, I give my word 
of honor not to bear him any ill-will but promise to be always 

grateful for the favor." 


The gamblers present accordingly made up a purse of $16 

and offered it to any white man who would administer the cas- 
tigation. A young man who had just got in from across the 
plains and had evidently heard of the ounce per day to be earned 
in this laud of gold, and this being his first chance to earn an 
ounce stepped forward, accepted the gold and vigorously laid 
on the willows, to the evident satisfaction of all concerned save 
Smith, who begged to be permitted to take an occasional pull 
at his flask, which, thanks to the generosity of old Hodges, had 
been well filled with brandy and gunpowder. In the mean- 
time some gamblers who felt a disgust at the white man who 
would do such a service for money, prepared themselves with a 
strong Mexican blanket, and, seizing the whipper, they com- 
menced tossing him up a la Sancho Panza. Every toss he 
went higher and higher, until he came down so hard that he 
broke his neck, as was at the time believed. 

Some charitably disposed persons took the poor fellow, it 
then being night, down to Downey & McFarland's drug store, 
at the corner of Los Angeles and Commercial streets, and Mac 
went to work and straightened up and bandaged his neck. He 
was permitted to sleep on the floor of the drug store until 
morning. Mac slept in the back room. In the morning he 
got up with a very stiff neck, and after looking around he 
ventured to inquire the amount of his indebtedness. Mac, 



54 REMINISCENCES OB' A RANGER. 

who was ignorant of the extent of his resources, informed him 
that the charge was "one ounce," $16. After fumbling 
around his pockets he unearthed his well-earned money and 
handed it over, remarking, "even change," and demurely took 
his departure. This was a most disgraceful affair, and I 
believe the foremost of the lynchers felt ashamed of it. So 
crestfallen did they look at what promised to be an interesting 
hanging that old Dimmick, the prosecuting attorney, took cour- 
age and threatened to have the leaders indicted for stealing the 
irons out of the jail. 

It afterwards turned out that Smith, who had been turned 
loose with the public property hanging to his legs, fouud his 
way to an up-town blacksmith shop, and sold them to the 
smith, who relieved him of his custodianship of the county's 
property. The failure to get up a first-class lynching cast a 
gloom over the city, from which it did not recover for near a 
month, at the expiration of which time they started in one 
Sunday morning, two men being assassinated and three hung 
before the bull-fighting commenced in the afternoon. 

One of the assassinations I remember to have been in this 
wise : Two Hidalgos were walking arm-in-arm, down Main 
street, engaged in the most friendly converse, when one acci- 
dentally offended the other. The latter drew his knife, and, 
without giving his victim the least warning, gave him a rear 
thrust to the heart. This happened about 9 o'clock A. M. 
Judge lynch was at the time holding his court at the usual 
place, engaged in the trial of two others, and the aforesaid 
assassin was at once arrested, tried, sentenced and hung before 
the body of his murdered victim was yet cold. He made a 
very interesting speech, thanked his executioners for their 
kindness, said it was all right, and that was the end of it. 

Those were fast times, let me assure the reader — whom I 
have most certainly worried by this time. But the fact is the 
object of this story being to show how the Angels amused 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 55 

themselves in those happy days, and let the subject be pleasing 
or the reverse, it must, forsooth, be told. 

The last gala day referred to, I believe, happened about the 
latter part of December, 1852, and was followed by a man 
getting married. " Nothing strange in a man's getting mar- 
ried," the reader will say ; but there the reader is mistaken, 
and I will proceed to explain : 

George Thompson Burrill, the "over punctilious . man," 
so-called by our lamented local historian, came to Los Angeles 
from Chihuahua, accompanied by a full-breasted, square- 
rigged, fast-sailing sort of craft, if the reader will permit a 
nautical expression, called Dona Concha. 

The over punctilious judge was a man of great gravity ; tall, 
lean and dignified, clean-shaved face, except the upper lip, 
which carried a moustache which would have made a graceful 
pendant for a Pasha's banner. The Judge also brought with 
him one of those abominable, sleek, hairless dogs, that, in lieu 
of children, received the united affection of the dignified Judge 
and the frail Concha. The Judge was very fond of Dona Con- 
cha, as he was also fond of the dog. The frail Concha divided 
her affections between the Judge, the dog, and Henry Lewis, 
Gabe Allen's partner in the old Star Hotel that stood where 
now stands the Lanfranco block. Like all true lovers, the 
Judge was blinded by his affection, and to gain a little relaxa- 
tion from the cares of public office, left the frail Concha in 
charge of his domestic world, and the hairless dog, and betook 
him to San Pedro to sniff the breeze fresh from the briny bil- 
lows. Very soon after the Judge's departure, Dona Concha, 
arrayed in the very extreme of Chihuahua fashion, made an 
assignation with the connubial Lewis at the Parochial Church, 
and Father Anacleto promptly united the devoted lovers in the 
holy bonds of matrimony. Somehow or other Nigger Alley got 
wind of what was going on, and Nigger Alley was not on the 
marry. Nigger Alley didn't believe in such nonsense, and 



55 REMINISCENCES OF A BANGER. 

when the happy couple emerged from the sacred precincts, they 
were confronted with the outraged denizens of Nigger Alley, 
fully bent on mischief. The frail fair one escaped the fury of 
this anti-nuptial mob and took refuge in the church. Henry 
succeeded for a time in eluding the grasp of the outraged 
Democracy and in reaching, and almost getting through Nigger 
Alley, having been unfortunately headed off from Main street. 
One division of the mob followed in hot pursuit, while the 
other flanked around and cut off the possibility of egress from 
the narrow street. Henry, driven to the wall, took refuge in 
Tao's gambling house, on the old Coronel corner, and attempted 
to barricade himself therein ; failing in which he surrendered at 
discretion and offered to stand the liquor for the whole crowd, 
which only tended to further infuriate the outraged decency of 
the classic quarter, and they let into poor Henry with eggs, 
rotten apples, and every conceivable offensive missile. In the 
meantime tar and feathers were called for, but by some fortu- 
nate circumstance the poor fellow was enabled to escape through 
the back door and over walls to Main street, and thence to the 
strongholds of his own castle. 

The population, that is to say the Nigger Alley portion of 
it, felt itself disgraced. The idea of one of them, and Henry 
was one of them, marrying, was an absurdity, an insult not to 
be tolerated. The Star Hotel was ruined, and to save its 
credit, Henry was forced to withdraw from the co-partnership. 

The Los Angeles world was on the qui vive to know the 
result when the Judge returned, anticipating blood, murder 
and dire vengeance. In due time the Judge did return, and 
old S — tt appointed himself a committee of one to break the 
doleful news to the unfortunate man. The stage drove up to 
the Bella Union, and S — tt saluted the Judge, and inviting 
him to smile at the bar, took him delicately to one side and 
said : 

" Thompson, did you hear the news ?" 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 57 

"What news?" said the Judge. 

"It is so dreadful I am afraid to tell it," said S — tt. 

"Does it concern me? Has any one sued me?" said the 
Judge. 

" Worse than that," said old S— tt. 

" Out with it," said the Judge. 

"Well, then, if I must I must," said old S— tt. "Well, 
then, this is what is the matter; the whole town has been in an 
uproar. While you were absent, Dona Concha ran away from 
your house and married Henry Lewis." 

"Did she take that little dog?" gravely inquired the Judge, 
while quietly sipping his cock-tail. 

" What dog ?" said S— tt. 

"Why, little Santa Ana," replied the Judge. " To tell you 
the truth, I had evil forebodings concerning him, and I must 
go and see about the dear little fellow. Adios!" and the man 
of punctilio was gone, and so is the story. 

The most noted character, probably, in all California at the 
time referred to, '51, '52 and '53, and especially in the Southern 
counties, was Jack Powers. Jack was an Irishman by birth, 
and came to California with Stephenson's New York Volun- 
teers. When I arrived in Los Angeles Jack was here, although 
he properly resided in Santa Barbara. Jack was a great gam- 
bler and when he walked through a crowd of gamblers it was 
with the air of a lion walking among rats. Gifted with mental 
qualities of the highest order, with the manners of the true 
gentleman, with a form and face physically perfect, with a 
boldness and dash that made him a leader among men, Jack 
Powers, under favorable circumstances might have attained to 
the most honorable distinction ; as it was, he wielded a great 
influence not only among the gambling fraternity and the 
Spanish population, over whom he lorded it, but he made his 
influence felt at the State Capital, where he was held in high 
esteem by a succession of Governors, having been on the warmest 



58 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

terms of friendship with Governors McDougall and Bigler. 
At San Francisco Jack was the acknowledged peer of the most 
prominent, and had he aspired to political preferment, he could 
have chosen between a seat in the National Congress and the 
helm of State. 

Jack was a power in this land. In Los Angeles Jack ruled 
the gamblers. In Los Angeles the gamblers, to the number of 
about four hundred, absolutely ruled the roost for a succession 
of years. Jack was not a politician however. Jack was a first 
class sport, owned his own ranch, kept hounds, fast horses and 
a large number of retainers, and was a lord in the land. Jack 
wielded such a power that at one time he maintained an army 
of followers at his own expense, and boldly defied the authori- 
ties. As before stated, Jack owned a ranch, which, like all 
other ranches at the time, was swamped in litigation. The 
Sheriff held a writ of ejectment against Jack which was resisted; 
an attempt was made to arrest him in Santa Barbara; his friends 
rallied to his support and the attempt failed. Jack and his 
friends then seized the only piece of artillery in the town and 
took up their line of march to Jack's ranch, some miles distant. 
W. "W. Twist, the Sheriff, also one of Stephenson's Volunteers, 
summoned the power of the county, attacked Jack, and attempt- 
ed to take the gun away from him. The Sheriff was defeated, 
some two or three persons being killed and others wounded. 
Jack safely reached his ranch, provisioned and fortified it for a 
siege. He had one sure enough cannon; he took the stove-pipe 
from his kitchen, mounted it, cut embrasures through the thick 
walls of his house, made many Quaker demonstrations, and, 
although besieged for days by the foiled Sheriff, he successfully 
defied the laws, and the Sheriff was forced to raise the siege. 
This occurred in January, 1853 — and for a long time thereafter 
when Jack would visit the capital of the county, he was fol- 
lowed by a troop of retainers that assured his freedom from 
arrest. 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 59 

Nordhoff refers to an interview and conversation between 
himself and Ned Beale in regard to Jack Powers as one of the 
robbers of early times, and although Jack was the lord and 
head of all the bad characters in the southern counties, the 
writer who knew him well, has no hesitation in saying that he 
believes Jack Powers to have been as incapable of personally 
committing a robbery as either of the gentlemen referred to as 
discussing his character. Jack, however, outlived his influence; 
or, better say. he outlived his followers. In 1856, when the 
blood-hounds of the San Francisco Vigilance Committee pur- 
sued Ned McGowan to Santa Barbara, Ned was only saved 
through the influence and shrewdness of Jack, who necessarily 
fell under the baneful influence of the great Vigilance Commit- 
tee. In 1857 Jack stood almost alone ; his followers had fallen 
off; the influence of the gamblers had gone. Standing in fear 
of the law, that in the zenith of his glory he had defied, he 
concluded to fly the country he could no longer rule. He 
accordingly emigrated to Sonora where those gentle and prac- 
tical people, who so summarily disposed of poor Crabbe and his 
followers, converted Jack to the most profitable possible use as 
they thought, that is to say, they chopped him up and fed him to 
their pigs ! Alas, poor Jack ! He was full of a noble gene- 
rosity, and deserving of a better fate. 

A great many sensational scribblers have tried to hold Jack 
up as an out-and-out highwayman ; others have maintained 
that he was the veritable Joaquin Murieta ; but neither is cor- 
rect. He was, as I have described him, a man born to be 
prominent in that sphere of life to which fate may have 
assigned him. 

The venerable scribe who writes ancient history for us says : 

" In February, 1845, a bloodless battle, of three days' con- 
tinuance, was fought between Governor Micheltorena, at the 
head of the troops which accompanied him to California from 



60 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

Mexico, and General Jost Castro, at the head of citizens and 
residents of the Southern part of California." 

Although this military chronicler was too young, and too 
far removed from the battlefield referred to, and personally 
knew' nothing about that grand, historical event, the truth of 
history demands that he should take issue with the old gentle- 
man who gave to the world the above scrap of history, and 
maintain on the best of hearsay evidence that it was not a 
bloodless battle, but on that memorable occasion the virgin soil 
of San Fernando was moistened with the blood of slaughtered 
innocence. This is the way this most veracious writer came to 
know something about the great battle of Providencia, fought 
on the Providencia Ranch, some ten or eleven miles up the 
Los Angeles river. 

Some few weeks after my arrival at the Angels, an enthusi- 
astic citizen said to me : 

"Los Angeles has a history, sir. It always was an important 
place, sir." 

" It seems to me," I replied, " that Los Angeles is making a 
history very fast." 

"Los Angeles for half a century, sir, has been the hot-bed 
of revolution, sir," said the citizen. 

The writer then inquired of a very honorable kinsman, who 
had dwelt many years in the hot-bed, to see what information 
he could elicit on the question of revolution, and lo ! I struck 
a perfect historical bonanza. First of all, he told of the great 
revolution against Micheltorena, in which he had individually 
participated. 

To commence, then : Castro pronounced. That is to say, 
he called the Governor hard names ; called his chivalrous fol- 
lowers vagabonds and cholos, and then wound up with a grand 
flourish about "Independence, God and Liberty," and the 
revolution was on its legs. 

The Governor held his court at Monterey, and when informed 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 61 

of Castro's pronunciamento, took immediate steps to squelch 
the rebellion. He at once mobilized his regulars and called on 
old John Sutter, who responded with a force of drilled and 
disciplined Indians. He also organized a Gringo contingent, 
composed of the American settlers in the Sacramento Valley, 
in and around San Jose, San Francisco and Monterey — mostly 
the same men who, a short time thereafter, raised the " Bear 
Flag " and defied all Mexico. With this respectable following 
the valiant Governor buckled on his armor, mounted his little 
prancing mustang and marched in hot haste to subjugate the 
rebellious angels. 

In the meantime, Castro was alive to the immense respon- 
sibility he had assumed — the responsibility of rebelling against 
the most enlightened and most powerful nation under the sun. 
He sounded the clarion note of war; he floated his banner to 
the breeze; he marshaled around him an angelic host who swore 
to carry that banner on to victory, if they had to ride through 
blood to their bridle-bits. 'He also mustered to his support the 
Gringo element of the southern counties, and when the news 
was brought in that the invading army had broken camp at 
San Fernando, the great hero of the revolution marshaled his 
chivalric followers and marched forth to meet the tyrant and 
conquer, even if forced to sacrifice the last Gringo in. his army. 
To the American reader who is unfamiliar with the Spanish 
language, it is about time to explain the meaning of the term 
Gringo. " Gringo," in its literal signification, means ignoramus. 
For instance: An American who had not yet learned to eat Chili 
peppers stewed in grease, throw the lasso, contemplate the 
beauties of nature from the sunny side of an adobe wall, make 
a first-class cigar out of a corn husk, wear open-legged panta- 
loons, with bell buttons, dance on one leg, and live on one meal 
a week. Now the reader knows what a terrible thing it was in 
early days to be a Gringo. 

This meek and humble historian has felt all the mortification, 



62 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

humiliation and disgrace of being a Gringo. If the reader has 
been so spared, then the writer congratulates him — because it 
is an awful calamity to be a Gringo. 

Castro put his Gringos on the skirmish line. Micheltorena 
not to be outdone in patriotic sacrifice and first-class general- 
ship, put his Gringos on the skirmish line, and but for a for- 
tuitous circumstance it would have been Gringo meet Gringo, 
and the tug of war. The armies had commenced strategic 
movements; the skirmish lines had advanced and the ball was 
about to open, when a voice spake from the skirmish line of 
the Governor; both Jines advanced under cover of the trees and 
underbrush that abounded on the battlefield. The voice spake 
as follows: "Hello, Read, is that you?" 

" Why, yes, McKinley, is that you? " Then another voice : 
" Well, by Jove, here's Laughlin, and there's Graham ! What, 
Bell, are you here, too?" and so the two skirmish lines met 
and recognized in each other old friends — fellow countrymen in 
a foreign land about to murder each other, all for God, Liberty 
and the Constitution. Then said one of Castro's Gringos to 
one of the Governor's Gringos, all having shook hands and sat 
down to see what the difference between them really was, 
" What in the name of the great grizzly brought you here to 
fight us? " 

Said the Governor's Gringos : " We are fighting for the 
Constitution. Why are you arrayed against the Government?" 

Then said Castro's Gringos, all at once : " We don't care a 
d — n for the Government, or for Castro either ; but we know 
that if Micheltorena enters Los Angeles we, the foreigners, will 
have to pay the fiddler in the way of sacked stores and forced 
loans. And now you see what we are fighting for." 

" They are right," said all of the Governor's Gringos. So 
the result was the two skirmish lines concluded to withdraw 
from the conflict and let the descendants of the glorious con- 
quistadores fight it out in their own way, and that the united 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 63 

Gringos would see that, whichever army prevailed, no stores 
should be sacked, or that no forced loans should be levied on any 
foreign resident of Los Angeles. This unlooked for union gave 
to the contending factions a different complexion, and these 
united Gringos withdrew to a sylvan retreat on the banks of 
the river, and the commissary mule of the Los Angeles Grin- 
gos, well packed, among other good things, with a good supply 
of Wolfskill's best wine, was brought up, and the two skirmish 
lines resolved themselves into an old-fashioned picnic and 
patiently awaited the results of the day. Little was done on 
that day. The next morning, however, the battle began in regu- 
lar Mexican style. Castro opened with artillery; the Governor 
replied with his heaviest metal. The battle raged with terrific 
fury for two full days, until finally blood was spilled, honor was 
satisfied, God and Liberty had vindicated itself. The Consti- 
tution was safe. Manuel Micheltorena, General of Brigade, 
and Governor of Alta California, lost a mule killed in that 
terrific three days' conflict, and what more could be expected ? 
He did his duty like the brave General that he was. The best 
blood of Mexico had appease* the wrath of the rebellion, (cer- 
tainly the best blood shed in that battle) ; the Governor agreed 
to withdraw from the country and the revolution was a grand 
success. 

Another grand flourish of trumpets, an invocation to God 
and Liberty, and Don Pio donned the official toga, and became 
the dispenser of unnumbered leagues of the grand domain of 
California. Many of our best citizens sigh for the good old 
times, when revolutions were cheap, and there were no taxes to 
pay ; and the writer respects the wisdom of the philosophical 
Spaniard when he vigorously maintains that the revolutions 
enjoyed under Mexican rule, were far preferable to the high 
taxes under the Gringo Government. 

Here comes another revolution anterior to the one above 



64 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

related. The following I borrow from the writings of Charles 
H. Forbes, Esq.: 

Bandini's revolution speaks successfully for itself. 

In the year 1830 General Manuel Victoria was sent from 
Mexico to relieve General Jose Maria Echandia. who was 
then acting as Comandante of the Oalifornias. 

In the year 1831, owing to the arbitrary rule of Victoria, a 
few citizens in San Diego, viz.: Don Juan Bandini, Don Pio 
Pico, Don Jose Antonio Carrillo, Abel Stearns and seven 
others, matured a plan to overthrow Victoria's government, 
and for that purpose held several meetings. At their assem- 
blage on the 29th of November, 1831, at the house of Bandini, 
they armed themselves, and in the evening surprised the guard 
at the Presidio (Fort) of San Diego and took possession 
thereof, with all arms, ammunition and cannons, and made all 
the soldiers prisoners. Don Jose Antonio Carrillo, with five 
men, was left in charge of the Presidio, and Bandini, Pico, 
Stearns and the four others went to the residences of the officers 
under Victoria, took them prisoners and brought them to the 
house of Don Pablo de la Porting who was then Comandante 
of the Presidio under Victoria, and he too was made prisoner. 
All being together, the plan was read to them, and on their 
promising on their honor not to oppose the Bandini party, they 
were allowed to go to their respective houses. On the 1st of 
December, 1831, General Echandia was asked to take the head 
of the little party against Victoria, which he accepted, and 
spoke at some length, explaining the injustice of Victoria. A 
salute, was fired from the Presidio, which was responded to by 
all of the American shipping in the bay. 

On the 2d of December, 1831, Don Pablo de la Portilla and 
all the other officers joined the little party, and on that very 
day Don Pablo was sent with twenty-five men, well armed and 
equipped, to take possession of the Pueblo de ios Angeles. On 
the 5th the rest of the party — Bandini, Pico, Stearns, Echandia, 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 65 

soldiers and citizens — left San Diego to join Don Pablo, and on 
the following day, the 6th, a courier met them with a letter 
from Don Pablo stating that he had taken possession of the 
Pueblo de Los Angeles, put the Alcalde, Vicente Sanchez, in 
double uons, liberated all of the prisoners, and that Victoria 
was at San Fernando with forty men. On the 5th Don Pablo 
de la Portilla met Victoria near the pueblo; and when in hear- 
ing distance Victoria ordered Don Pablo to come to him, to 
which Don Pablo responded by ordering Victoria to halt. Vic 
toria, enraged, said, "A mi no se manda hacer alto," "I am not 
the man to be halted," and gave orders to his men to charge 
and fire. Noticing some reluctance on the part of his men he 
said that he was not accustomed to fight with men that wore 
petticoats. Whereupon the brave Captain Don Romualdo 
Pacheco, father of Ex-Governor Pacheco, answered that he did 
not wear such appendages, and drawing his sword called to his 
men to follow him. Jose" Maria Abila then sallied forth from 
the San Diego side and, with a small derringer, shot and killed 
Captain Romualdo Pacheco, and with his lance wounded Gen- 
eral Victoria, throwing him oif his horse. 

One of Victoria's soldiers shot Abila, bringing him down, 
when another of Victoria's men advanced to finish Abila, but 
before he got to him Abila drew another derringer and shot 
him, bringing him down. General Victoria then finished Abila 
with his sword. 

At this stage of the battle the San Diego forces retreated 
back to Los Angeles, and on arriving there disbanded, with the 
exception of a few who remained with Don Jose Antonio Carillo 
at the "cuartel" soldiers' quarters. Later in the evening 
Victoria arrived and halted in the upper portion of the Pueblo. 
As soon as Don Jose Antonio Carrillo knew of the arrival of 
Victoria, he in person commenced to beat the drum as if calling 
the soldiers together. On hearing the beat of the drum Vic- 
toria decided not to enter the Pueblo, but sent a communica- 
5 



66 REMINISCENCES OF A BANGER. 

tion to Don Pablo de la Portilla, stating that he was ready to 
turn over the "mando" to him. And here ended Victoria's 
government. Don Rotnualdo Pacheco was buried on the 6th 
of December, in the Catholic Cemetery, and Abila on the 7th. 

Upon the arrival of Bandini, Pico, Echandia, and the rest of 
the party from San Diego, about the 8th or 9th, Don Pio Pico 
was proclaimed Governor, and took the oath of office in the 
plaza, in front of the old church, one of the men entering the 
church by the round window in the front and bringing out the 
crucifix for the purpose. 

Don Luis Zamorano, who at this time was in Monterey, 
upon hearing of the defeat of Victoria, raised a party against 
the San Diegans, proclaimed himself ruler, and sent down to 
Los Angeles one hundred and sixteen men under the command 
of Lieutenant Juan Maria Ybarra, who took possession of the 
Pueblo de Los Angeles. 

The San Diego party having left for San Diego soon after 
the defeat of Victoria, Ybarra had no opposition, but upon 
hearing of Zamorano's movements they were not idle. They 
began to gather up their forces, and under the command of 
Captain Barroso, sent about fifty men, with orders to sta- 
tion themselves at the San Gabriel river, at the place called 
Paso de Bartolo, and await re-inforcoments, as they should be 
sent to him. 

Bandini, Pico -and two or three others soon followed, and as 
they came along gathered up all they could, sending couriers to 
the mountains to get the Indians to join them, to which they 
responded, gathering in great numbers. Before the arrival of 
General Echandia the forces at San Gabriel river were about 
1,300 or 1,400 strong. Of these about 300 were white and 
about 1,100 were Indians, all of them mounted and with lances 
and bows and arrows. 

On the day previous to the arrival of Echandia from San 
Diego, a communication was sent to Ybarra by Captain 



BEMINJSCENCES OF A RANGER. 67 

Barroso to the effect that if he (Ybarra) should not vacate 
the Pueblo de Los Angeles by nine o'clock next morning he 
should be obliged to do it by force of arms. Ybarra heeded 
the order, and left that very night for the north to report to his 
chief at Monterey. Gen. Echandia, Bandini, Pico and Cap- 
tain Barroso entered the Pueblo de Los Angeles with flying 
colors, and this revolution was a success. 

From my historical bonanza other matters were extracted, 
the most important pf which was the fact of Holy inspiration 
being the cause that induced the founding of the beautiful city, 
subject matter of the following story, the truth of which is 
beyond the power of contradiction : 

Two months and a hundred years ago three Spanish 
Dragoons, followed by an Indian leading a sumpter mule, 
ascended the highest hill or bluff overlooking the present site of 
Los Angeles, and the Rio Porciuncula, now called Los Angeles 
river. Having attained the rugged summit, the three soldiers 
dismounted, and at the order of Sergeant Navarro, the elder, 
unsaddled and picketed their horses, placed their lances " en pa- 
ve lion," over which they threw their blankets and thus formed a 
sort of tent. The sumpter mule having been relieved of its 
burden, and a "bota" of vino Catalan having been taken there- 
from, the Sergeant drew from the pocket of his doublet a 
small silver cup, filled it, and quaffing the delicious fluid of 
Catalonia passed the bota and cup to Corporal Quintero who, in 
like manner, passed the canteen and cup to the soldier, Ban- 
negas, who having followed the example of his superiors, the 
three seated themselves on their "armas de pelo," cigarritos 
were produced and the Sergeant with his mecha struck a light, 
and in silence they smoked. The beauty of the scenery that 
surrounded them was beyond the power of description. Their 
faces were turned toward the dark and craggy mountains that 
overhung the San Gabriel mission, whose white walls and red 
roofs could be seen in the midst of the sea of sylvan green that 



68 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

surrounded it. The plains and rolling hills had discarded their 
mantle of green and donned their sere robes of summer. 
Gazing toward the sun, which had now marked the first 
segment in the circle of its journey, plains, hills, forests, lakes, 
rivers, valleys, and towering mountains in splendid panorama 
met their wondering vision. To the rear of where the three 
warriors sat and intermediate to the line that marked the verge 
of the unknown sea in crescent shape lay in silent beauty the 
shimmering waters of a beautiful lake sheltered from the rude 
blasts of the ocean by a rampart of kind and protecting hills. 
To the left for leagues could be traced the serpentine windings 
of the river, as it swept through the valley toward the western 
horizon. Obliquely to their rear and looking southward to the 
sea the waters of the Porciuncula swept by like a silver stripe 
in a ribbon of green, shaded by the umbrageous white-armed 
sycamore and the more verdant cottonwood, under whose pro- 
tecting shades gamboled countless herds of deer and antelope, 
while still beyond are to be seen rocky islands in the ocean 
posted like knights in armor guarding the portals of Paradise. 

Having in silence taken in this vision of beauty, Corporal 
Quintero was the first to speak. "Sergeant," said he, "my 
old and tried friend, at first I greatly marvelled at your leading 
us to this fatiguing summit, but I now thank you for it. You 
have been here before, and we having shared with you the hard 
knocks of many campaigns, you wished to share, with us the 
pleasures of this foresight of Paradise. When did you first 
discover this magnificent view? ' It exceeds in beauty anything 
I ever beheld, even in our beautiful Spain." 

"My friend," answered the Sergeant, "it is a strange tale, 
but true. In a dream, or vision, I beheld this Terrestrial Para- 
dise. Thirty years ago, when yet a boy, before I had buckled 
on the armor of Spain, approaching my native city of Granada, 
I stopped to rest on the famous summit called ' The Moor's 
Last Sigh/ and while drinking in the magnificence of Granada, 



REMINISCENCES OF A EANGEE. 69 

the beauty of the Vega and the silver sheen of the Guadalquiver 
in its serpentine windings, I fell into a sound slumber, and in 
my dreams was transported to this very spot, and instead of my 
armed comrades, as now, our Blessed Lady, the Angel Queen, 
stood beside me in a halo of glory, and, after pointing out the 
surrounding loveliness of Nature, she indicated the spot below 
us whereon I should found a city that in time should rival and 
eclipse in magnificence and beauty our filmed Granada. That 
the valley before us would in wealth and productiveness exceed 
the Vega, and the river that sweeps the valley at our feet 
would become the theme of song and story even as the sweet 
Guadalquiver. 

" 'Found thou here a city/ said the Queen, and in a radiance 
of glory she ascended from the earth and left me alone. I 
awoke and found it to be a dream — no ! a vision ! Such a 
vision as that of St. John. The vision as we now behold it, 
save the presence of the queen, has ever been before me. 
While tossed on the waves of the ocean, I could see it. It 
was before me on the battlefield, in camp, at the guard post, 
on the march, ever present, asleep or awake ; and now, Cor- 
poral, with the h^lp of Our Lady, the favor of God, the 
permission of Don Felipe, and the assistance of the most 
reverend, the Father President, I am going to found the city 
NUESTRA SENORA KEINA DE Los ANGELES. Long have I 
served the King ; thou, Corporal, thou, brave Bannegas, hast 
grown gray in his service ; to-morrow, comrades, let us to His 
Excellency, Don Felipe de Neve, beg our discharge, gather the 
few that are free, procure the proper authority, and found a 
city for Our Lady. I comprehend your thoughts, comrades. 
I know we are poor. Imperial Rome had a small beginning ; 
so will ours, but there must be a starting point for every enter- 
prise; ours will have the special protection of our Lady Queen, 
the favor of God, and will grow to be one of the brightest 
jewels of the earth. Comrades, shall we proceed ? " 



70 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

The Corporal and Bannegas having become possessed of the 
spirit of the inspiration, with the Sergeant, pledged themselves 
to the enterprise, and having enjoyed a hearty repast and 
agreed upon the point whereon to locate the city of Los 
Angeles, they saddled their horses, struck their tent, and the 
Indian having repacked the sumpter mule, the small cavalcade 
took up its line of march to San Gabriel. 

On the day following the meeting on the bluff, after mass, 
guard-mounting and the other military duties at San Gabriel, 
the good Sergeant ISTavarro followed by the corporal and Ban- 
negas, presented themselves before Don Felipe de Neve, Gover- 
nor and Military Comandante of California, laid before him 
their plans and begged their discharge from the military service 
of Spain. They, in addition to long service in other parts of 
the world, had been ten years in California. 

At first the Governor was disposed to discourage the founda- 
tion of a city, and inquired of the Sergeant where he would 
procure his " Pobladores." 

The Sergeant was prepared for the question, and informed 
him that himself, the Corporal and Bannegas made three. 
Then he counted five others at San Gabriel, two at San Diego, 
and two at San Juan Capistrano, all of whom would join in 
forming the settlement. The Father President of the missions 
was then consulted, who having promised material and spiritual 
aid, on the 26th day of August, 1781, Don Felipe de Neve 
signed the order directing the foundation of the pueblo, and on 
the 5th of September, one hundred years ago, the war-scarred 
veteran, Navarro, bearing the image of Nuestra Seiiora La 
Eeina de Los Angeles, followed by Corporal Quintero with 
the unfurled banner of Spain, Bannegas carrying the cross to 
be erected on the Plaza of the new city. Then came the nine 
other founders followed by the women and children to the num- 
ber of thirty-six. The mission fathers, the neophytes and nuns 
of San Gabriel were present, the Governor and military, less 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 



71 



the guard, were on the ground to add to the pomp and ceremony 
of the occasion. 

Mid the blare of trumpet, beat of drum and the chant of t he- 
priests, the cross was erected, Mass duly solemnized, the Plaza 
was marked out and the procession of priests, nuns, soldiers, 
women, children and Indians marched in joyful, yet solemn 
procession to celebrate the birth of the new city, Queen of the 
Angels, after which the Governor, the military, the mission 
fathers, the neophytes and nuns departed for the mission, leav- 
ing the brave Sergeant, the Corporal, the soldier Bannegas, 
their nine coadjutors, their wives and their children in quiet 
possession of the new born city. 




72 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 




CHAPTER IV. 

The Most Useful Man and How He Played it on Friar Juan, of Agua 
Mansa — His Duel with General Magruder — Juan Largo Versus Juan 
Ghapo — A Wonderful Lawsuit — Myron Norton, Don Jose, and the 
Mixed Jury — Cobarrubias. 

INE of my first acquaintances made in the Angelic city 

1 [f was Doctor •, a most noted character in his day, 

and he forcibly verified the old adage that " every dog 
has his day." The Doctor came to California as hospital 
steward in Stephenson's Pioneer Regiment, which, I am 
inclined to believe, was the Esculapian fountain from which 
the learned Doctor drew his first draughts of medical wisdom. 
The renowned Doctor was a '-'most useful man," to quote the 
language of our lamented local historian, and filled many 
important offices in his day, among which were those of 
Deputy Sheriff, Constable, Court Interpreter, Xotary Public, 
Town-Crier, Auctioneer, Representative to the State Legisla- 
ture, and Postmaster. The Doctor first distinguished himself 
as a local Democratic politician, and made himself prominent, 
and this is hpw it was : 

In the Presidential canvass of 1852, thw two parties, Whig 
and Democrat, were warmly arrayed one against the other. 
The Democratic outlook was good, except in one particular 
precinct, that of Jurupa — and it is here proper to say that Los 
Angeles County at that time embraced all the territory of 
San Bernardino, the division having been made in 1854. Old 
Louis Roubideaux was the lord of Jurupa, that is, he owned 
and occupied the Jurupa Rancho, and he was a Whig, and 
could not be won over in any way. The case seemed hopeless, 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 73 

and the doctor was sent out with his saddle-bags full of Dem- 
ocratic tickets to act as a forlorn hope in the cause of the 
General who threw his horse over his head. Then and there 
was where the transcendent genius of the embryo politican 
cropped out. About half way from Jurupa, which was then a 
military post, to San Bernardino, was situated the most beau- 
tiful little settlement I ever saw. It was called "Agua 
Mansa," meaning gentle water, and was composed entirely of 
immigrants from Kew Mexico, numbering some 200 souls — 
simple, good souls they were, too, primitive in their style of 
living, kind and hospitable to strangers, rich in all that went 
to make people happy and content, never having leen, up to 
that time, vexed by the unceremonious calls of the Tax Col- 
lector, owing allegiance to none save the simple, kind-hearted 
old priest who looked after their spiritual welfare, with peace 
and plenty surrounding them, the good people of Agua Mansa 
went to make as contented and happy a people as could be 
found in the universe. In the winter of 1862 a flood in the 
Santa Ana river swept away their houses, gardens, orchards, 
vineyards, in fact all of their splendid agricultural lands, 
leaving nothing save a hideous plain of black boulders and 
cobble-stones to mark the place where once stood this modern, 
miniature Eden, which I would fain describe. 

There must have been at least fifty voters at Agua Mansa, 
which had been designated as the voting place for the Jurupa 
precinct, and to" this place hied the noble Doctor as the avant 
courier of American civilization, to give this primitive people 
their first lesson in the mysteries of American citizenship. 

The doctor was a New Yorker, and may have had past expe- 
rience in the management of elections. In this instance, he not 
only proved himself an adept, but a perfect master of the busi- 
ness. Arriving at Agua Mansa, he dismounted, tied his hungry 
mustang, divested himself of his leather Mexican leggins and 
jingling spurs, and with the -sacred saddle-bags on his arm, 



74 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

with solemn step and downcast eyes, he bent his way to the 
little adobe church that stood on a mound in the center of the 
quiet village. Arriving at the door he piously uncovered, reve- 
rently crossed himself, entered and prostrated himself in front 
of the humble altar, and was then and there discovered by the 
simple old priest, who sprinkled him with holy water and offered 
him sweet words of consolation. Within the next hour the 
Doctor informed the priest that his piety (the priest's, not 
the Doctor's) had a world-wide fame, that in the distant land 
of New York the sacred name of Friar Juan, of Agua Mansa, 
was a household word among all good Catholics, and he, the 
Doctor had made a pilgrimage hither to invoke the prayers of 
the saintly Juan for the repose of the soul of his mother, (the 
Doctor's mother, not the priest's,) at which period the Doctor 
slipped a "slug" into the palm of the astonished Juan. 

Suffice it to say that prayers and masses were the order of 
the day, and on the following morning, at the breakfast table, 
the Doctor informed the priest that an election would be held 
on that day for President of the United States ; that one can- 
didate, General Scott, was a great heretic, and was the tyrant 
who made war on the Catholics of Mexico ; and that it would 
be a great calamity to the Catholic world should Scott be 
elected ; that Pierce, the other candidate, was a good Catholic, 
and if elected, would build Catholic churches all over the world, 
and that it therefore behooved them, as good Catholics, to see 
that Agua Mansa cast its vote for Pierce. And Agua Mansa 
did, under the pious instructions of the saintly Juan, subject to 
the satanic Doctor, vote early and all day for the Democratic 
candidate, to the great chagrin of old Louis lloubideaux, who 
felt for the first time that he had lost his influence with the 
gentle people of Agua Mansa. 

Los Angeles — with all its repute as a place of strife and tur- 
moil, the abode of chivalry, the hot-bed of red-handed ruffian- 
ism, a place where every man carried his code strapped to his 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 75 

posterior, where street "brawls were the order of the day, where 
all difficulties were settled on the spot, then and there, with 
bowie knife or revolver — was not, strange to say, save in one 
instance, .to witness a conflict face to face, man to man, accord- 
ing to the code of honor. Only one duel was ever fought in Los 
Angeles. Only one duel was ever fought in Illinois, and prob- 
ably for the same reasons. The terrible results of the two duels, 
the one fought in the Sucker State and the one fought in this 
angelic burgh, were so horrible in their endings as to deter all 
future cluelistic aspirants from a conflict on the ensanguined 
field of honor. The only duel ever fought in Illinois was in 
effect as follows : 

The two principals met, and one was killed. The survivor 
was tried, convicted and hung for murder. The respective 
seconds were convicted and sentenced to hard labor in the State 
penitentiary, and, although the Governor was petitioned to 
pardon or reprieve both the principals and seconds, he proved 
obdurate, and the seconds served their time out in the peniten- 
tiary, and in penal servitude expiated their offence, as did the 
surviving principal expiate his on the gallows. Thereafter 
dueling in Illinois became unfashionable, and aspirants for such 
honors gave that State a wide berth. 

The subject of this sketch was one of the participants in this 
most horrible duel, which I am now going to relate. It occurred 
in 1852, the valiant Doctor being the challenging party, and 
John Bankhead Magruder, then Colonel of the Third ^Artillery, 
commanding at San Diego, the party challenged. The horrible 
affair occurred in this wise : 

Magruder paid Los Angeles a visit, and the prominent citi- 
zens hereof gave the distinguished visitor a public dinner. The 
Doctor was a most prominent citizen. Magruder loved wine ; 
Magruder also loved women, so it was said. No women, how- 
ever, were present at the dinner, but wine flowed as wine had 
never flowed before. The company became exhilarated, conver- 



76 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

sation became general, and finally the question of great men 
came up and was generally discussed. Wheeler said that 
Henry Clay was the greatest of American statesmen. G. Thomp- 
son Burrill said that Daniel Webster was the greatest man the 
world ever produced. M&gruder said " Old .Hickory Jackson 
was the greatest man who ever trod shoe-leather." The Doctor 
said : " My father, who was Sheriff of Cayurja County, N. Y., 
was the greatest of all Americans." Magruder indignantly 

looked up, and said that the Doctor " was a d d fool." A 

challenge followed ; it was accepted, to be settled on the spot, 
i.e., in the 10x20 dining-room of Harry Monroe's restaurant, on 
Commercial street ; distance, from end to end of the table ; 
weapons, derringer pistols. Wilson Jon^s, the Doctor's second, 
got the word, and the principals, without shaking hands, took 
their respective stations, the majestic form of Magruder tower- 
ing above that of the. diminutive Doctor, who paled and shud- 
dered when brought face to lace with the grim-visaged son of 
Mars. All was suspense. The word was to be : Heady! fire! 
One, two, three! At the word "ready," to the dismay of all, 
the Doctor blazed away. When the smoke cleared away, to the 
horror of the valiant disciple of Esculapius, his antagonist stood 
as stiff and defiant as an avenging demon. The Doctor quailed ; 
Magruder glared savagely on him for a full minute. The spec- 
tators, spell-bound, looked on with horrible forebodings. 
Magruder took two "side steps to the right," which brought 
him clear of the end of the table. He then advanced the " right 
foot full to the front," with his glaring eye-balls bent fiercely on 
the now terrified Doctor. He then brought the left foot up to 
the rear of the right heel, and leveled his derringer at the 
ghastly face of the trembling Doctor. Then he advanced the 
right foot as before, and in this way, with firm and unrelenting 
tread, he slowly advanced on the now thoroughly frightened 
Doctor, who made a movement toward the door. The specta- 
tors interposed, and cut off the possibility of retreat in that 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 77 

direction. The Doctor tried to flank the Colonel by skirmishing 
around the table. Magruder faced to the left, as though moving 
on a pivot, and kept the direful derringer aimed directly at the 
Doctor's pallid countenance. In the excitement the Doctor ran 
under the table, crawled through, grasped the knees of the 
irate hero, and affectionately embracing them, said: 

"Colonel Magruder, for the love of God, spare me for my 
family." 

The Colonel gave him a kick, and said : 
"D — n you ! I'll spare you for the hangman." 
And so ended this remarkable duel, which would have ended 
in "murder most foul" only the derringers aforesaid where then 
and there only loaded with poivder and bottle corks, a circum- 
stance only known at the time to the respective seconds. 

Magruder deservedly became one of the heavy guns of the 
war between the States. The Doctor shuffled off this mortal 
coil somewhere about 1868. Magruder has fired his last shot, 
and most of the witnesses to that first and last duel in this city 
of fair name and former evil repute have gone "to the last 
bourne" — have handed in their mortal checks. 

Several scions of chivalry have at various times tried to get 
up affairs of honor in this city, but when reminded of the horri- 
ble fate that befel " the most useful mau," their courage failed 
and they could never be brought to the scratch. 

"The most useful man" cast a halo of disgust over the 
sacred code of honor, and ever since, in Los Angeles, dueling 
has been regarded as odious and highly dangerous to one's 
honor. 

"The Doctor often acted as Deputy Sheriff," so says the 
lamented historian. He was once elected Town Constable, so 
this pious writer avers, and further alleges, that the renowned 
subject of this sketch was a natural born bailiff. When armed 
with an execution, he invariably found something to levy on, 



78 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

aud woe be to the judgment debtor when the Doctor got after 
him with the writ. 

He could not draw blood out of a turnip, but he could get 
money out of the most impecunious. He used to play all kinds 
of " roots " in getting a turn on a man against whom he held 
the righteous writ. He has been known to treat his victim 
every day for a month, and cajole him in every conceivable 
way, until he would thoughtlessly plank down an eight-square 
slug, and the long fingers of the Doctor would go for it. 

" I levy on that," he would say, and away would go the poor 
devil's coin. 

" The most useful man " has been known to hide under the 
end of a counter a week, waiting for a victim to lay a piece of 
gold on the counter, and then would come the, " I levy on that." 
Oh, he was born to be a bailiff, was this "most useful man." 

One more anecdote of "the most useful man," and I will 
hand him over to some future historian who can do full justice 
to his many and transcendant virtues. About December, 
1852, there occurred a most wonderful lawsuit in Los Angeles, 
in which the Doctor played a prominent part in his ministerial 
capacity of Constable. The suit occupied our Justice's Court 
for some two or 'three weeks ; no jury could agree ; trial after 
trial with the same result. The case might be found on the 
old docket of Thompson Burrill, and would probably read 
thus : 

"Juan Largo vs. Juan Chapo — Suit in Eeplevin.. Subject, 
a lank old mustang." 

Juan Largo was owner in fee simple of many thousands of 
broad and fertile acres. Juan Largo was the owner of cattle 
on a thousand hills ; he was also the happy possessor of 
thousands of first-class mustangs. Juan Largo was rich, 
powerful and happy. Juan Largo was a chief. Juan Chapo 
was a poor, impecunious manipulator of monte cards, always 
flat broke; always ready to "watch the game" for the more 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 79 

fortunate of the fraternity; always asking for a "cow," and 
sometimes borrowing a "stake" with which to play a small 
game of " short cards ; " was a regular " bucker," but never 
known to make a "tap." Juan Chapo was poor. Of this 
world's goods he was devoid, save and except one poor, lean, 
lank, barrel-headed, slab-sided, ewe-necked, sway-backed, flat- 
footed, bob-tailed mustang, which he was wont to bestride, 
and, with huge, jingling Mexican spurs, cavort around the 
Plaza and up and down Main street, imagining himself to be 
the envy of scowling Dons and the admired of all the sefioras 
and senoritas in the city so famed for the beauty of its ladies. 
That lank apology for a horse was the sum total of the worldly 
wealth of poor Juan Chapo. Strange to say, that miserable 
mustang was coveted by the lordly Juan Largo, who explained 
by saying : " The value of the horse to me is as chaff, but there 
are family traditions connected with that horse that makes him 
dear to my heart. He has been stolen ; he bears my brand 
and I am bound to have him." Hence the suit in replevin. 
Strange, that the great chief in his wisdom failed to bethink 
him that the impecunious Chapo would have been more than 
willing to part with this relic of barbarism for the paltry 
.consideration of about $12.50. However, the mighty Largo 
had assumed his war paint, and his voice was for war. The 
main difficulty in the suit was in determining the brand, the 
particular brand belonging and appertaining to Juan Largo ; 
for, be it known, that lank Mexican mustang was covered with 
brands on his hind quarters and his fore quarters, brands on 
the top of brands, and had evidently been in the possession of 
all the Hidalgos from the time of the glorious Conquistador 
down to the time of the humble J nan Chapo, whose brand had 
not been burned into the frizzled and fried hide of the poor 
brute, for the reason only that Juan Chapo was too poor 
to own a brand, and had not bethought him to borrow one. 
One jury failed to agree and was discharged ; another was 



80 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

impaneled and sworn. This jury insisted on having the beast 
shaved in order that the brand might be more easily discovered. 
A requisition was accordingly made on the tonsorial skill 
of Peter Biggs, who, in the presence of the Court, Jury and 
congregated crowd of gamblers and hard cases, proceeded 
to denude the horrid creature of every hair, from his jaw-bones 
to the root of his tail, leaving him as sleek and smooth as the 
hairless dog Dona Concha. The Jury viewed the shorn monster 
and were more mystified than ever. There were too many 
brands. Where dim outlines of Juan Largo's brand could be 
traced, a half-dozen others would traverse it in all possible 
directions. This Jury failed to agree. Another was drummed 
up and mustered in, one of whom bethought him of a great 
expert in brands, and if Juan Largo's brand had ever been 
burned into the hide of that horrible horse, then Don Jose, the 
expert, could explain and discern it. Don Jose, who dwelt 
beyond the Santa Ana, was accordingly sent for. In the 
meantime the jury gravely discussed the momentous question. 
This was an "intelligent jury ; " so said the Court. It was a 
mixed jury, so far as color and nationality went ; so says the 
author. A very intelligent idea entered the twelve wise heads, 
in form and effect as follows : 

They procured the services of a draughtsman and some trans- 
parent tracing paper, which was applied to the side of the 
astonished bronco, and a traced copy of the manifold and many 
brands was obtained, and spread'out on the table in front of the 
Court and jury for Don Jose's inspection when he should arrive, 
it being deemed advisable for him to first pass upon the brands 
before seeing the horse. In due time the Don put in an 
appearance, only too proud to be regarded as so great an expert. 
The trace of the brands was spread out before_him, and he was 
requested to explain. 

He examined it in many ways ; he viewed it from a front 
position ; took an oblique squint at it ; closed one eye and saw 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 81 

it; he examined it first one side up and then the other side. 
One irreverent juror was about to suggest that he had better 
stand on his head and look at it. An outsider said he had bet- 
ter put a wet blanket over his head and see it that way. 

The Court finally addressed itself to. the great expert, and 
said : 

" Well, Don Jose, what do you make out of that ?" 

" Quien sabe," *-vas the reply. " It greatly resembles the 
map of Sonora." 

This jury also failed to agree, but the 1 suit was not yet at an 
end. Another jury was ordered. In the meantime it was 
agreed between our esteemed old friend, Judge Myron Norton, 
who was counsel for the impecunious Chapo, and the lordly Juan 
Largo, that the controversy should be settled by " gage of bil- 
liards," and that the game should be played by the Judge and 
Largo himself. The author has no hesitation in saying that 
that game of billiards, played in the " El Dorado " of revered 
memory, was witnessed with greater interest than was ever 
before given to a game of equal importance. The game was 
long, well played, and every shot delivered with all the cool cal- 
culation demanded by the great stake played for. Every avail- 
able space not required by the contestants was occupied by the 
eager and excited spectators ; the house was crowded to suffo- 
cation ; anxious faces peered in at the windows ; sharp eyes 
peeped through every crink and cranny of the frail house. The 
tall looked over the shoulders of the low in stature, and for 
three days the game went on. Hughes' bottles were filled, re- 
filled, and again emptied ; demijons were squeezed, and 
Hughes sent out for a further f supply, when all at once an 
immense cheer went up that shook the plaza like an earthquake. 
Myron Norton had won the game. The mustang was poor 
Juan Chapo's. 

Norton was triumphantly raised on the shoulders of his 

friends ; Juan Largo was carried out on a raw-hide. Cheer upon. 
6 



82 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

cheer went up for Norton, and Juan Chapo aud the angels 
went on a general bust for the night. Imagine, then, the con- 
sternation of the enraged multitude when it was announced on 
the following day that the recreant Largo refused to abide by 
the result of the game of billiards, and still laid claim to the 
poor horse, and still pressed his suit before Judge Thompson 
Burrill. Judge Norton vituperated ; poor Chapo swore in 
both English and Spanish ; and the hard cases spoke in terms 
by no means complimentary to the lordly Juan Largo. 

A new jury had been impaneled and sworn, and the gay and 
chivalrous Norton, and the now grim-visaged little Juan Chapo, 
posted on his left and rear, again came to the legal scratch. 
For two more wearisome days the contest waxed warm for the 
possession of the poor tormented mustang. The case went to 
the jury who were out all night (on a bust), and on the opening 
of Court in the morning came in with a verdict for the now 
exultant Juan Largo. Juan Chapo consoled himself by saying: 
" Well, I've lost my horse, but old Largo has to pay the costs." 
which was really the case, being a suit in replevin, surety for 
the costs had been duly filed, and oh ! horror of horrors ! that 
bill of costs ! They knew then how to tax the costs, not quite 
so well as now, but still they knew how to pile them up in 
those early days of litigation, and the Doctor knew how to col- 
lect them. He and Thompson had caught a fat goose and they 
knew how to pluck him, and pluck him they did without 
mercy. The lordly Juan Largo had won a costly victory. The 
costs amounted to more than $3,000. 

During the long and wearisome trial before the last jury, the 
punctilious Court, now grown impatient, fined a delinquent 
juror $20 for contempt. Change was so scarce at the time, 
that it was quite impossible to change a $50 piece, so the juror 
defiantly flung a slug on the table and said, " change that if 
you can, and take your fine," feeling confident the Court would 
be unable to break the coin. 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 83 

" I levy on that" said the Doctor, pouncing upon the slug, 
to the surprise and consternation of the discomfited and 
now thoroughly subdued arbiter of justice. 

Oh | he was the very prince of bailiffs, was that ''most useful 
man." 

To the mind of an American patriot the two most important 
events in California pioneer history was the raising of the first 
American flag at Monterey and the admission of the State in 
the social circle of the Union, and the reception of the news of 
that important act of September 9th, 1850. Next in import- 
ance, politically, was the first vote cast in California for Presi- 
dent of the United States, as aforesaid ; and the transmission 
of the electoral vote to Washington will, in this chapter of 
truthful history, be the subject of a reminiscent sketch of a 
pioneer of ponderous political proportions. But, first, I must 
tell something about the first flag and the first flagstaff at Mon- 
terey. The world gives Fremont the credit of planting that 
historical pole and nailing thereto the flag of our country. The' 
world in this instance is mistaken. That eminent but modest 
soldier and patriot, General George Stoneman, is the man in 
question. 

There must have been an immense number of people engaged 
in raising that original Monterey flag, as, within the last fifteen 
years I've known at least five hundred persons who claimed the 
honor individually and non-collectively, the last of whom is 
Captain Lewis G. Green, the colored janitor of the Los Angeles 
Court House. Strange it is, but true, I have never known a 
man to claim the honor of firing cannon at San Francisco and 
Sacramento or any other place on the reception of the admis- 
sion news, though a great amount of gunpowder was burnt 
in honor of that event. The joyful announcement reached 
Sacramento during the night. About the middle of October, 
1850. before daylight, a cannon was, I believe, brought in from 
Sutter's Fort, ran into position at the foot of J street, and 



84 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

commencing at the exact minute of sunrise fired a national 
salute. Having just come down from the Deer Creek gold 
washings, our party was encamped under the historical live oak 
on the levee opposite the gun, (bad luck to the man who cut it 
down). Those cannoneers must have all died or disappeared, 
otherwise we would hear of or from them. 

General Cobarrubias was the eminent character who bore the 
California electoral vote of 1852 to our country's capital to be 
cast for Franklin Pierce as President of the United States. 

It was a very pretty and delicate compliment in appointing 
a native of California and a Mexican to cast our first electoral 
vote. There was chivalry in the act ; and why not ! Was 
not California then the double-distilled quintescence of chivalry? 
General Cobarrubias was an out-and-out representative of the 
chivalry of the times. Elegant in his manners and appearance; 
speaking English and French as well as his native Spanish, a 
thorough politician withal, he became a power in the land, and 
among the politicians of early days he was of great importance. 

The General was convivial in the fullest sense of the word. 
Yes, he was bibulous. He could drink an English lord under 
the table at any time, place, or under any circumstances what- 
ever. Many is the "bout" he had with Ned McGowan, 
John McDougall, Elkin Heydenfeldt, Ipsydoodle Ferguson and 
their friends, the most eminent drinkers of the day, all of whom 
fell before his remarkable powers of absorption, unless, per- 
chance, the ubiquitous McGowan. 

Soon after his return from his mission to the Electoral Col- 
lege he paid Los Angeles a visit of honor (Gen. Cobarrubias 
resided at Santa Barbara), and was taken in charge by the 
leading Democrats of the city, and given a public dinner at the 
Cafe Barriere. Among the guests present were those renowned 
bon vivants, Myron Norton, Ezra Drown, Charles Edward Carr, 
Ogier and Brent, who, being aware of the General's wonderful 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 85 

powers of endurance, resolved to mix his wine with brandy, and 
place him hors du combat. 

The festive board was spread and the guests were seated at 
8 o'clock sharp, and the bibulous battle began in good earnest. 
At midnight many who were active at the opening of the festive 
artillery began to retire. Norton was top heavy ; Drown was 
half-seas-over ; Carr was waterlogged, and Ogier was in search 
of soundings whereon to cast his anchor. The General was as 
cool and level-headed as was Farragut while running the forts 
of the Mississippi. At 3 o'clock Madame Barriere and her corps 
of waiters retired from the field, leaving the level-headed Cobar- 
rubias engaged in drawing the cork from a fresh bottle, and 
smilingly contemplating the maudlin antics of his befuddled 
entertainers. Daylight came, and the Madame heard the bell 
ringing in the dining-room, and repairing thither, what a sight 
met her astonished gaze. General Cobarrubias was sitting in 
his place at the head of the table, smoking his cigar and reading 
a newspaper, and the flower of American chivalry were laying 
around promiscuously, and under the table. " Madame," said 
the hero, gracefully waving his hand toward his fallen com- 
rades (?), "what queer people these Americans are. They fight 
valiantly, but always fall early in the action. They have no 
bottom. You may bring me a bottle of cognac, after drinking 
which I can stand three soft-boiled eggs and a cup of coffee." 

A great man was General Cobarrubias. The pomp and cir- 
cumstance of the Democratic politicians of San Francisco 
escorted the General to the steamer, saw him safely quartered 
in the finest state-room on board, where a deluge of wine was 
turned on, and continued to flow until the steamer was brought 
to and overhauled off Meigg's Wharf, where the escort left the 
steamer, which majestically and like a thing of life swept past 
the Golden Gate, bearing Caasar and his fortunes. 

The General had the seat of honor at the ship's table, and 
wined every man and woman at the table who would be wined, 



86 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

and my memory faileth me in my attempt to remember a 
single soul in '52 who would refuse to be wined. 

The General dispensed a bibulous hospitality in his state- 
room, gave private wine suppers in the ship's cabin at late 
hours. The consequence was that when the steamer reached 
Panama the ship's storekeeper presented the General with a 
bill of $3,000 for wine on the fortnight's voyage. Oh J genius, 
where dost thou dwell, and where is the place of thy nativity ? 
Paris ? Berlin ? London ? or the other capitals of the old 
world ? New York ? Boston ? or Washington, with thy 
superlative dead-head, Beau Hickman ? Yes ! all of you have 
given birth to men of genius who have electrified the world, all 
of whom have been pigmies as compared with this magnificent 
Barbarefio, whose genius cropped out and made itself as mani- 
fest as a native quartz ledge, for, when this Brobdignagian 
liquor bill was spread out before the General he only cast his 
eye upon the following figures, to-wit, $3,000, when coolly and 
without a word he drew his check for the amount on the 
National Democratic Committee, pocketed the bill, said "Esta 
bueno," invited the storekeeper and purser to his stateroom to 
finish up a tew bottles, then, entering a boat, the General 
landed at Darien to pass over the same road marked out by his 
illustrious countryman, Nimez de Balboa. On the Atlantic 
side the same game was played with about the same result. 
When the steamer came to off Sandy Hook the news went 
flying to New York that Gen. Cobarrubias, a Mexican 
Grandee of unlimited wealth, was on board, bearing the 
electoral vote of California. The result was when the steamer 
drew alongside her wharf, all Tammany was on hand to receive, 
do honor to, and escort the Greneral to quarters prepared for 
him at the Astor House. The New York Democracy had a 
lion for a guest, and they showed him around. His reception 
was equal to those given to Gen. Grant on his voyage around 
the world. 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 8T 

What ! A former Mexican General, a California Grandee ! 
New York went wild over him, and Tammany appointed a 
committee to escort him to the capital, and he was not permit- 
ted to spend a dollar while in the land of Knickerbocker or on 
his way to and from the capital. Discharging his duties at the 
Electoral College, by presenting the vote of California in a 
grandiloquent speech, in which he pledged his State to the 
Democracy for all time, and after lionizing in Washington, 
the Californian returned with his Tammany escort to Man- 
hattan, and, being wined, dined and lionized a second time, 
was duly shipped off to his native State. 

Drawing his check on "the Committee" at the Isthmus 
for his wine bill, which for the last time he repeated at San 
Francisco. His wine checks were duly honored by the National 
Committee, to the tune of about $10,000. And why not ? 
Notwithstanding the General's acres were very wide, and his 
purse it was quite narrow, still he was a General, a California 
Grandee, and the National Democracy felt honored in having 
such an eminent person cast the virgin vote of the young State. 

The great man is long since dead. The mantle of magnifi- 
cence which enveloped the graceful form of the father has 
descended in diminished grandeur, and rests on the shoulders of 
a worthy son (a small chip of the old block), and the name of 
Cobarrubias is still of weighty consequence in this consequen- 
tially great country. 



88 REMINISCENCES OF A KANGEIl 



CHAPTER V. 

Spanish Families— Good Society — A First-class Mexicau Ball— Ranchero 
Hospitality— Captain J. Q. A. Stanley, li. S. Den, Bandini and Others- 
Washington's, Birthday Ball in 1853— Assault and Hard Fighting— The 
Dead — Myron Norton Wounded — The Angels on a War Footing — 
Andres Pico Commands the Peace — The Mission Indians Adopt Gringo 
Customs and Hang a Man — Mission Squirrels Versus Mission Bells. 




the writer carne to Los Angeles, notwith- 
standing the disjointed state of. affairs, society was 
really good ; better, the writer ventures the asser- 
tion, than at present, or than may reasonably be expected 
within the next decade. Prior to and at that time the old 
wealthy and intelligent Spanish families had formed a strictly 
exclusive class. They went to make up the aristocracy of this 
country, and dispensed a lil>eral hospitality that did honor to 
them as a people, as well as to the more* favored class of 
Americans who were so fortunate as to gain admission to their 
circles. Many of them, especially the well-fixed rancheros, 
dispensed a baronial hospitality, and they could well afford it. 

Soon after my arrival in Los Angeles it was my good fortune 
to attend a first-class ball at the house of Don Jose Antonio 
Carrillo ; a first-class citizen, one who had been honored with a 
seat in the Sovereign Congress of Mexico. He had also been 
the military head of the country, and was at the head of native 
California ton. 

The ball was the first of the season, and was attended by 
the elite of the country from San Diego to Monterey. The 
dancing hall was large, with a floor as polished as a bowling 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 89 

saloon. The music was excellent — one splendid performer on 
an immense harp. 

The assembled company was not only elegant — it was sur- 
passingly brilliant, The dresses of both ladies and gentlemen 
could not be surpassed in expensive elegance. The fashions of 
the gringo world had made little innovation on the gorgeous 
and expensive attire of the country as to the gentlemen, while 
the ladies were resplendent in all the expense of fashion that 
could be supplied by unlimited resources. The writer had read 
Major Emery's book on California, in which, after lauding the 
California horsemen above the Comanche Indian and the 
Bedouin Arab, he went on to say that "the ladies excelled in 
dancing more than did the men in horsemanship." 

Being thus prepared, the writer expected to witness reason- 
ably elegant Terpsichorean performances, but the dancing on 
that occasion was something more than elegant, it was wonder- 
ful, while the most dignified and staid decorum was observed 
to the end of the festivities, which broke up about two o'clock 
in the morning. It was at this ball that I first met rny old 
Ranger comrade, Captain J. Q. A. Stanley. Among other dis- 
tinguished characters at the ball were the celebrated Juan Ban- 
dini, a learned man of the country, Doctor Don Ilicardo Den 
of generous and chivalrous memory, who being a subject of 
Great Britain during the war with Mexico, gave his services 
gratuitously to both sides in the war, and deservedly won the 
love and gratitude of all, and Don Tomas Sanchez, a true son 
of chivalry, who had wielded a good lance at San Pascual. 

Some two and-a-half months thereafter we had one of those 
very elegant and exclusive affairs that ended in blood, its very 
exclusiveness being the cause of its very sanguinary termina- 
tion. The ball was given at the house of Don Abel Stearns, a 
very wealthy American, on Washington's birthday, February 
22, 1853, and was a grand and patriotic affair, but very exclu- 
sive. Somehow or other two or three gamblers were invited 



90 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

guests at the ball, which gave grave offence to the fraternity in 
general, among whom were many first class Americans, good 
and patriotic fellows, who loved their country and venerated the 
name of the* immortal hero in honor of whose memory the grand 
affair was gotten up. These gentlemen maintained that on 
national occasions one American was as good as another, and 
that the whole community were on an equal footing, and that 
to attempt an exclusive national celebration was tomfoolery of 
the first order. So about two hundred of them assembled to 
"bust up" and disperse the exclusive humbug. The first 
move was to get the old cannon, which had grown rusty for lack 
of revolutions, and place it in position directly in front of the 
house and bearing on one of the doors. They then procured a 
large beam, to be used as a battering ram when the time arrived 
for the general assault — all of which was done with the utmost 
silence. 

At about midnight, when the patriotic dancing was at fever 
heat, and everything was hilarious within, the old gun was let 
off, and the battering-ram was driven with terrific force against 
the other door. Fortunately the cannon was badly trained, 
and the charge missed the door. The battering-ram, however, 
did its work well, and the door burst in with a tremendous 
crash. It fortunately happened that one game little fellow, 
who was one of the exclusives, was dancing directly in front of 
the burst-in door, and had a battery of Colts buckled to him, 
either of which was nearly as large as himself. 

This patriotic exclusive stepped directly to the door and 
plugged the first gentleman who attempted to enter. Then 
another, and another, and by this time the affair had assumed 
all the beautiful proportions of a first-class revolution, and the 
firing became general. Of the assailants several were shot 
down, and the assault effectually repulsed ; while of the exclu- 
sives but one man was wounded, and he the gay and festive 
Myron Norton, the chivalric vanquisher of the great Largo in 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 91 

that memorable game of billiards heretofore referred to. The 
brilliant Norton received a gentle perforation, that placed him 
liors du combat for some time thereafter. 

For the next few days the Angels were on a war footing ; 
the community was divided ; the defeated gamblers swore ven- 
geance ; the well-heeled exclusives were on the alert, deter- 
mined not to be taken unawares ; a general conflict seemed 
imminent ; on retiring at night doors were barricaded and arms 
carefully examined ; a silent, moody gloom prevailed ; the 
gamblers would meet in groups and menacingly discuss the 
situation ; the business part of the community was greatly 
alarmed. Confidence was only restored when Don Andres Pico 
came out and gave the gamblers to emphatically understand 
that, on the first hostile demonstration, he would raise the 
native Californians en masse against them, and that he would 
not be responsible for the consequences. It nevertheless took 
months to cool off the bad blood engendered by that affair of 
the 22nd of February, 1853, and for some time individual col- 
lisions were of frequent occurrence. 

I had now been several months in the city of the Angels, and 
had not as yet visited the Mission of San Gabriel. So one 
Monday morning I mounted a fiery mustang, and hied me over 
the beautiful green prairie sward to that interesting and classic 
spot. 

The reader who now journeys over the nine miles of inter- 
vening hill and dale between Los Angeles and San Gabriel, has 
to draw very forcibly on his imagination to take in the land- 
scape as it then was. At the time referred to the writer saw 
at least 10,000 head of horses pasturing on the rich and 
verdant plain, their number seeming without limit, while here 
and there could be seen the picturesque figure of the Lasador 
in the same unique costume worn five hundred years ago in the 
Vega of Grenada, or on the plains of Morocco. The landscape 
was romantic and lively in those early times, us now it is 



92 .REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

gloomy and monotonous. The lazy sheep-herder, with his 
dusty flock, has driven out the snorting mustang and his 
dashing rider. 

I necessarily felt a great exhilaration of spirits on arriving at 
the Mission. The beautiful morning, the bracing air, the 
grand mountain scenery in front of me. The enlivening scene 
constantly present, the splendid gait of my well-broken charger 
(the word mustang would be an insult to the noble horse 
ridden on that occasion), all tended to inspire a buoyancy of 
feeling that prepared the writer to enjoy whatever of the 
pleasant might present itself at the Mission. I rode up to 
" Headquarters " and was met by a very handsome black 
bearded young man by name Roy Bean, brother and successor 
of General Josh Bean. The General had been the proprietor 
of the " Headquarters," the first grog-shop of the place. Roy 
was dressed in elegant Mexican costume, with a .pair of revolvers 
in his belt, while a bowie knife was neatly sheathed in one of 
his red-topped boots. 1 inquired if I could get barley for my 
horse. "Yes," said he, "as soon as Vicente comes in." 

"When will Vicente come in?" I inquired. 

" When they get through hanging that fellow," said he. 

" What fellow?" said I. 

"Oh !" said he. "the Injuns have began to learn the white 

man's tricks. By ! " said he with a laugh, " look ! Isn't 

that rich?" 

While thus conversing my attention was drawn up the road 
some 200 yards to the west, to a large . crowd of Mexicans and 
Indians, men, women and children, on foot and on horseback, 
and when Roy laughed and said "Isn't that rich?" I saw a 
man go directly upward to the limb of a tree and there remain 
until an hour later, when, with a feeling in strange contrast 
with the exhilaration felt on approaching the pleasant looking 
place, I took my departure without getting the feed of barley 
for my gallant little charger. After crossing the arroyo, and 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 93 

being about a half mile away, I halted, turned my horse's 
head, and there still hung the poor victim dangling in the air. 
At the same time there went up a wail of despair, as though 
from the friends and relatives of the murdered Indian. When 
Roy said " Isn't that rich ? " he concluded with : " Watch my 
front door and see that no d — d thief steals my whisky," and 
without another word hastily mounted his horse and dashed off 
to the place of execution, evidently intent on more readily 
drinking in the rapture of the occasion. During the hour 
I spent at that happy place, I learned the reason of the hang- 
ing of the poor Indian. 

At the time there were three great grog-shops at the 
Mission ; all kept by Americans ; all doing a smashing busi- 
ness, especially on Sundays, when from early dawn till late at 
night these devil's workshops would be surrounded by a mass of 
drunken, howling Indians. About sundown the smashing 
business would begin in good earnest ; that is to say, these 
gentle aboriginal Christians would commence to smash in each 
other's skulls. Now you see the kind of a " smashing " busi- 
ness carried on by our three honorable contrymen in addition 
to getting the Indian's coin. 

The "Headquarters," the most aristocratic of the three 
grog-shops, was situated at the southwest corner of the then 
great Mission building ; the sign was painted in large black 
letters on the clean whitewashed front of the building. The 
place was certainly the "Headquarters" of all the lazzaroni 
of the country. Judging from the crowd of vagabonds who 
put in an immediate appearance after the summary disposition 
of the Indian, Roy's head was quite level when he said " the 
d — d thieves will steal my whisky." 

Why the place was called "Headquarters" I/ailed to learn, 
but most probably the reason was as before stated, or perhaps 
because it was such a famous place for splitting and quartering 
heads, a pastime that the elevated Indian, whose obituary I 



94 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

must now attend to, had been engaged in ; that is to say, he 
quartered the head of a fellow aboriginee at the " Headquar- 
ters " on the previous night, was placed in durance, and forth- 
with, on the following morning, carried before His Honor Judge 
Dennison, a " duly elected and qualified Justice of the Peace/' 
and Associate Judge of the Court of Sessions of the county. 
The Judge held his Court at the grog-shop of Frank Carroll, 
who hung out in the beautiful cottage residence of one of the 
Mission Fathers, situated in the Old Mission orange grove. 
Frank, with that remarkable spirit of enterprise which charac- 
terized many of our early settlers, had jumped the Fathers' cot- 
tage, and there fixed his pioneer roof-tree and hung out his 
sign, and dispensed the invigorating fluid to both man and 
beast. 

The Judge, who was more towering in his ambition, jumped 
the orange grove, and became the original shipper of the golden 
fruit to the San Francisco market. The Judge was engaged 
in a quiet game of "old sledge" with one of Frank's custom- 
ers, tor the morning nips, when the Indian was brought into 
Court. He very gravely laid down his hand and inquired what 
the matter was. When informed of the nature of the offence 
he picked up his cards, sipped his cocktail, and remarked in 
Spanish : "Well, you had better take him out and hang him," 
and then continued his game without further interruption ; and 
the sentence of the Court was carried into immediate execution, 
.as before shown. 

The Mission is a classic spot, and well it may be. Classical 
writers have written, and become enthusiastic in writing, about 
the old crumbling adobe walls. One of the more inspired, in 
referring to the old church and the churchyard, uses the follow- 
ing language, drawing on Longfellow for help : 

" Lingering around the charmed precincts of this venerable 
pile (meaning the church), my footsteps led me unconsciously 
to that portion of the grounds set apart as the City of the 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 95 

Dead. Here, among these unmarked graves, might Evangeline 
have come, if her long wanderings had led her to this, as they 
did to the ' Mission of the Black Robes,' where her Gabriel 
was to her so near and yet so far." 

The writer assumes that Evangeline didn't come, and if her 
Gabriel had been laid away in that old graveyard, then Gabriel 
would have been in the extreme of bad luck, and the writer 
feels confident that the reader will readily agree with him that 
if Evangeline had been stationed at the " venerable pile " as a 
military outlook for a month or two, as was the writer, and had 
observed the- tolling of the Mission bells at each consecutive 
funeral, and had observed the maneuvers of the interesting Mis- 
sion squirrels that burrowed in the protecting artificial mounds 
formed by the crumbling walls, the squirrels coming in greedy 
haste at the doleful summons of the tolling Mission bells, Evan- 
geline would have wished her Gabriel in a more secure and less 
frequented place. 

Now, as a matter of fact, the writer, in his early military 
career in the summer of 1853, was stationed at the "venerable 
pile" as a Hanger Scout, a sort of an individual corps of obser- 
vation, and while one day sauntering around the City of the 
Dead, making observations and taking notes in his mind, his 
attention was arrested by the deep tolling of the Mission bells, 
which gave notice of the commencement of the journey of some 
departed spirit to the unknown bourne. The young military 
observer halted, sat his carbine against the old crumbling wall 
of the churchyard, and with grave demeanor awaited the coming 
funeral. 

"D-o-n-g, d-o-n-g, d-o-n-g," went the Mission bells. 

" Chirp, chirp, chirp, rippity-skip," came a troupe of Mission 
•squirrels. In a moment the wall was covered with them, all 
sitting as erect as a Sergeant-Major at guard-mount — their 
little thumbs on the ends of their little noses, while their little 
fingers would seem to girate in a derisive and playful manner 



96 REMINISCENCES OB' A BANGER. 

at the venerable old coffee-colored sexton, who thoughtfully 
leaned on his ancient spade beside the new-made grave. 

This grave historian was lost in thought. " T-o-1-1 ; t-o-1-1: 
t-o-1-1," went the Mission bells. " Chatter, chatter, chatter," 
sang the happy and expectant Mission squirrels. 

The funeral procession arrived, each mourner in line, armed 
with a burning tallow candle. The solemn services of the 
church were soon at an end. The sepulchral sound of the earth 
being thrown into the grave, the " t-o-1-1, t-o-1-1, t-o-1-1," of 
the Mission bells, the mournful wail of the near relatives of the 
departed soul, the happy "chirp, chirp, chatter, chatter, chat- 
ter." of the triumphant Mission squirrels, and the sorrowful 
procession filed away from the grave and departed. 

When the Mission bells ceased their tolling, the happy 
Mission squirrels galloped around the old wall, frisking and 
chattering apparently to each other with a seeming human 
intelligence. 

The Mission squirrel smiles as he listeus, 

To the sound that grows apace; 
Well lie knows of the funeral coining, 

By the toll of the bells in the holy place. 

When all was silent as a grave-yard, except the chattering 
squirrels, the young Ranger entered, and. approaching the 
sombre old sexton, respectfully inquired if the squirrels always 
came to the funerals. 

" Si, seuor, siempre " (yes, sir, always), said he. 

" How is it ? " said the Ranger. " Why do they come ? " 

" Quien sabe," said the old grave-digger, " estos animalitos 
son muy inteligentes." (These little fellows are very intelli- 
gent.) 

•' Do they come at vesper ringing ? " inquired the Ranger. 

" Nunca," said the grave-digger, " y porque ? " (Never, and 
why should they ?) 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 97 

" Do they come when the happy ringing calls the pious to 
mass ? " asked the Hanger. 

" Never," said the Sexton. " Did I not tell you they were 
intelligent animals?" 

"And they only come to funerals then," once more ventured 
the Ranger. 

"They only come to the funerals," said the serious Sexton as 
he shouldered his shovel, and with grave and measured tread 
left the graveyard. 

This most truthful historian solemnly asseverates that such 
was really the case ; that those Mission bells might ring all 
day, as they frequently did on joyous occasions, without dis- 
turbing the equanimity of a single squirrel: But just let the 
bell give one " t-o-1-1," and the scene that has been depicted 
would invariably be repeated. 

Surely the old Sexton spoke the truth when he said, " these 
little fellows are very intelligent." Their intelligence seemed 
almost cannibal. 

Now, does the reader for one moment suppose that if 
"Evangeline" had come and witnessed such a funeral as the 
one seen by the Ranger, she might, in the solemn hush of even- 
tide, have 

" Sat by some nameless grave, 

And thought that perhaps in its bosom 
He was already at rest, 

A.nd longed to slumber beside him." 

Evangeline would not by any manner of means have been so 
stupid. She would have been frightened away by the squirrels. 

Poets have exhausted their fire about the Mission bells, but 
it has been left to this humble military scribe to attempt to do 
justice to the remarkable intelligence of those Mission squirrels. 

The writer, in pursuing the direct road of veracity, will not 
scruple in tearing off masks and fancy dresses, when presented 

in disguise, for the benefit of posterity, arid will venture only so 

7 



98 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

far as he can have the assistance of the bull's-eye of truth, and 
will in his truthful narration always neglect the will-o'-the-wisp 
of mere romance. 

The classical writer of " Semi-Tropical California," who 
made us all rich with the flourish of his pen, goes on in raptur- 
ous musings in laudation of the " venerable pile," and says : 
" But it is time these musings had an end. It is vesper hour. 
Long, long years ago, grandees and high-born dames, men and 
women in middle rank in life, and peasants, some bowed with 
age, and children of tender years, stood round a seething fur- 
nace in Old Spain. Ornaments of gold and silver were flung 
into the fiery mass. Anon a chime of bells came from the 
master's hand. With prayer and chant and benediction, they 
were given to the keeping of a galleon, bound for this far-off 
land. Propitious winds bore them in safety to the old embar- 
cadero of the Mission of San Gabriel. For many and many a 
year the bells have flung their silvery music on the evening 
air." 

How very romantic all this would be, were it not masked 'in 
the thinnest gauze. 

The writer visited Panama in 1856, and the first thing shown 
him by an enthusiastic Panameno was one of Harper's Month- 
lies, which gave the same account of the origin of the " bells 
of Panama," and the same story is repeated as to every bell in 
Spanish America, especially if written about by adventurous 
American newspaper romancers. If not romance, but fact, 
then the "grandees," "dames," and "men and women in mid- 
dle rank of life," and "peasants," must have had immense 
superfluity of gold and silver ornaments. I do remember, how- 
ever, that in 1855 there was a great earthquake, that shook the 
Mission bells so hard that their ancient rawhide fastenings gave 
way, and some of the bells came down with a crash. 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 99 



CHAPTER VI. 

A Grand Character — An Old-tiine Election in Los Angeles — Capturing 
Voters, the Modus Operand! — Disguising Sovereigns— Old Payuche — 
History Repeats Itself — The Registrar of the Land Office Dines Off the 
Nose of the U. 8. District Attorney — The Judge and the Pet Deer — 
Lafayette Cotton and the Register — An Overdose of Buckshot. 




reader is now brought to May, 1853, and all of 
the important transactions occurring from the time 
the writer arrived up to that date have been gen- 
erally referred to, with all important digressions. It was the 
intention of this very impartial chronicler to mention several 
great local historical characters before touching on any other 
great events. One character, whose acquaintance the writer 
made about a month after his. arrival, has been intentionally 
postponed from time to time, for the reason that so far he 
felt his utter inability to do justice to the greatest and most 
sublime character, possibly, the world has ever known — cer- 
tainly the grandest genius the author has ever had the honor 
of knowing, and he has known and stood in the presence 
of many eminent characters, even royalty; that is to say, 
this humble subscriber has stood in the presence of, sat in the 
palace with, and drank unadulterated rum out of the same 
calabash with His Royal Majesty George Frederick Clarence, 
the great ruler of the Mosquito Kingdom, and the favorite 
protege of the Imperial Victoria. The reader can now readily 
perceive that the author has been a person of great conse- 
quence, and will wonder that any Republican American could 
have survived so much honor. 



100 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

The writer reiterates that he has associated on terms of 
easy familiarity with many great and illustrious persons, 
extending all the way from the Mosquito King to Round- 
House George, 'but never felt his utter insignificance as an 
individual until brought into the presence of the great Angel 
of this angelic town, a man greatest among the great, one 
who carved his name on the history of every country he 
ever honored with his presence, extending all the way from 
the white cliffs of Albion to the piratical Soo Loo Archie- 
pelpgo. 

Now does the reader wonder that this timid writer has so 
long hesitated, and still hesitates to even attempt to give to 
the world the history of one so illustrious. Such a person 
actually dwells among us mundane angels, and the author will 
devote one whole future chapter in giving to posterity a true 
biography of this world-renowned angel, and will now proceed 
to inform the reader of the way, form and style of an ancient 
and original municipal election in the city of angels. 

Los Angeles polled a very great vote in the happy times of 
pioneer elections. \Vith her population of 5,000, a greater 
number of votes were deposited in the ballot-boxes than at 
present, with our four times greater number of noses, and it 
will now be the duty of the writer to attempt to explain the 
modus operandi of getting four or five votes out of each sov- 
ereign voter. 

May Day election arrived. The sun of Austerlitz rose in all 
the splendor only known to this sunny clime. Before he cast 
his first glittering rays on "Gallows Hill," so styled at the time by 
some profane people, the whole population seemed thoroughly 
aroused to the importance of the great event. Anxious look- 
ing individuals could he seen with pockets full of tickets, hurry- 
ing towards the plaza, the nigger-alley corner of which was the 
polling place. By 8 o'clock A. M. several old army ambulances, 
ablaze with banners bearing the name of some candidate, com- 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 101 

menced driving up and down the principal streets at a furious 
pace, while one immense wagon with a full band of Mexican 
circus performers, drove up and down the streets with a regular 
force of skirmishers and flankers thrown out, capturing and 
bringing in to the great wagon American citizens to be used as 
stepping stones to the fortune of some aspiring local politician. 
When the wagon was filled to its utmost capacity the music 
would cease, and the great vehicle would be driven in all haste 
to the polls, and the captured sovereigns would be taken out 
and marched up to the ballot-box, and after an immense amount 
of skirmishing and squabbling, for be it known they were not 
quietly permitted to vote, as the friends and strikers of opposing 
candidates made every possible effort to change the ticket on 
the voters as they stood in line waiting their turn. The duties 
of American citizenship were finally discharged, and one might 
suppose the victims were quietly permitted to depart. Not so, 
however, they were immediately taken in charge by another 
detachment of the candidates who had first made the capture 
and duly marched off, for what purpose, of where, only the 
initiated at that time could know. In a brief space of time, how- 
ever, the same crowd would return to the polls, and for the 
second time duly discharge the duties of freemen, and will 
the writer's veracity be questioned when he asseverates that 
this herd of captured voters would be voted at least five times 
during the day, and every one of them would in all probability 
be Mexican, and frequently aboriginal Indians, and in no wise 
entitled to vote. 

The modus was in this wise : After voting the first time, 
which would be under gentle pressure, they would be taken to 
an improvised barber-shop, and their long hair cropped and 
being otherwise disguised, and then returned to the polls and 
voted under an assumed name ; they would then return to the 
shaving place and go through another operation, and a possible 
whitewashing, another name would be given the citizen, also 

r 



102 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

another drink and another dollar, and another vote would be 
polled for some enterprising candidate. Voting in early times 
used to be a lucrative business, and voters were considered valu- 
able according to the facility offered for disguising one's self. 
Old Payuclie, who at this day honors our chain-gang with his 
valuable services, used to be (as I am informed by an old poli- 
tician, who is yet in the harness) disguised and voted five times 
at each successive election. Times have materially changed ; 
at the present time the voters shave the candidates, in place of 
being shaved, as in the happy times long gone by. 

Peter Biggs was in his glory on that election day. His shop 
and its various branches were crowded all day. 

It was astonishing the amount of silver in circulation on that 
day. Mexican dollars were as abundant as $50 slugs, and 
more so, a dollar being the price of a vote. The reader will at 
once inquire, as did the innocent chronicler at the time, why so 
nyich strife, so much manoeuvring, such an expenditure of cash, 
when the annual salary of the Mayor, who was at the head of 
the ticket, was only $500. The Councilmen drew no pay, the 
Marshal's perquisites were small ; the Assessor also got $500. 
The explanation is that this angelic city had a grand domain 
to be disposed of, the foundation of future jobs, and land opera- 
tions were to be planned and fixed up with a view to future 
profit, and that was why such stupendous efforts were made to 
carry the election in May, 1853. It is not necessary to inform 
the reader what gentlemen were honored with the people's 
preference on that memorable day, only, as before stated, the 
gay and festive hangman was elected Marshal, and the people 
raised Old Nick on that occasion. They set a bad precedent, 
that has been improved and refined, until at this day we have 
the most skilfully managed elections that could be imagined 
outside the infernal regions. 

That "history repeats itself" is an undisputed truism. 
That "virtue hath its own reward" is a maxim even older 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 103 

than " Poor Richard's Almanac." That " punishment is sure 
to follow the wrong doer," we have all had ample experience. 
Then, to be brief and to the point, let me inform the reader 
that the same horrible punishment inflicted on the unfortunate 
Marshal by the infuriated Attorney, heretofore referred to 
as having occurred at Madame Barriere's, at the time the 
bar went on a bust, was inflicted on the great Federal legal 
light, by the enlightened and highly civilized gentleman who 
did such wonderful honor to the best government in the 
sinecure position of Registrar of the United States Land Office. 
Sinecure, I say, because the officers were appointed before 
the land was even surveyed. That is to say, the two dig- 
nitaries were quietly supping together in one of the tack rooms 
of the " Montgomery," when the pioneer legal representative of 
the Government emptied a plate of soup full in the face of the 
Land Office man, who, not in the least disturbed in his 
cool equanimity, quietly proctteded to lay the attorney across 
the table and deliberately bite off about an inch of that 
great Federal nose. Unfortunately for the dignity of the 
Government, the amateur surgeon who stitched on that nose 
made a nice graft of it, only he put it on upside down, 
which made it seem as though the Government man was 
always turning up his nose at more humble persons, while the 
fact was that the attorney was one of the most democratic 
of mankind, and would drink often and always with whom- 
soever invited him, though of high or of low degree. 

One more memorable incident in the official career of the 
Attorney and he will be consigned to the affectionate memory 
of the few who honored him as a very good fellow, as well as a 
first-class pensioner on a first-class and benevolent Government. 

The Judge who had been raised to the Federal Bench, and 
Gitchell, who had succeeded him as U. S. District Attorney, 
started one morning on a buggy ride, and the Judge bethought 
himself that it would be a pious idea to go by the old brewery 



104 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

and take a few drinks of gratuitous beer. So Gitchell held the 
horse while the Judge went in the back way to the beer bar- 
rels. All at once Gitchell heard a terrible roar from the Judge, 
then, "Oh, Lord, Gitchell ! Gitchell, come quick! Oh!, Git- 
chell, d — n it, corne; hurry, quick!" 

Gitchell's horse was somewhat restive, and Gitchell made 
haste slowly, notwithstanding the Judge's "Gitchell ! Gitchell! 
quick! Hell and fury, Gitchell, come quick ! Come faster, 
faster," and even more emphatic exhortations. 

Gitchell was a long time in reaching the Judge. Imagine, 
therefore, his surprise on entering the back yard of the brewery 
to find the Judge engaged in mortal combat, gasping for breath, 
with his head down, his lacerated posterior well elevated, 
thoroughly braced, with his brawny arms thrust forward and 
every nerve strained in an almost vain endeavor to hold at bay 
a furious antlered buck. As soon as he became aware that 
Gitchell had arrived, he roared out "Kill this d — d thing! " 

" Oh, no ! " said Gitchell ; " it's a pet Confound it, Judge, 
let the deer go; what in the name of all that's ridiculous are 
you doing? Let it go ! " 

" Blazes ! " said the Judge, " I did let it go once, and it tore 
me all to pieces." 

Gitchell was undecided, and of all the infernal traits, inde- 
cision is the most infernal. Through his indecision the buck 
gained a great advantage over the Judge, and forced him back- 
ward into a steaming mass of refuse hops; but the Judge, out of 
breath, blown and exhausted, held on to the antlers with the 
tenacity of a snapping-turtle. However, the deer got the 
Judge down in that steaming mass of softness. 

The Judge gasped out : " Oh ! for God's sake, Gitchell, 
break its back. When I let it go it will kill me." 

" Why," says Gitchell, without the least excitement, and 
seemingly gratified at so much dignity in such au undignified 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 105 

position, "why, don't you see I have nothing to break its back 
with ? Had I better go for the Marshal ? " 

By this time, to the great relief of the Judge, a valiant sub- 
ject of King Gambrinus put in an appearance, and drew off the 
enemy. The Judge was utterly vanquished. A bran new suit 
of clothes was ruined, especially the pants. The Judge was so 
badly injured that he could neither ride in a buggy nor take a 
seat at the table, or anywhere else, for a month, every day of 
which time he begged Gitchell to say nothing about it. Every 
day Gitchell promised, and every day the town nearly burst its 
sides with laughter. Gitchell never told. The Gambrinus 
man kept mum, but that ferocious encounter between the 
Judge and the pet deer has found its way into history. 

The Registrar of the Land Office — only, as before stated, 
there was no Land Office — was an out-and-out man-of-war. 
He could wield a bowie ; was quick on the draw ; struck 
square out from the shoulder, and could gouge out an eye, or 
bite off a nose, in such a style and manner as would excite the 
envy of the most fastidious backwoods fighter, and withal was 
a man of remarkable coolness, as might be inferred from his 
taking the anointed nose of Government without pepper or 
salt. As an instance of his coolness and nerve I will relate the 
following incident : 

Lafayette Cotton was a first-class gambler, as well as an 
eminent fighting man. Lafayette married a native-born damsel 
of lascivious mien and voluptuous proportions, and became 
jealous of the stalwart Registrar, who was very amorously in- 
clined. Lafayette, armed to the teeth, found the Registrar at 
the '•'' Montgomery," quietly engaged in billiards. Lafayette, 
greatly excited, entered with revolver in hand. 

"Get out of the way; I'm going to shoot! Draw and 
defend yourself!" said he, rushing up to the Registrar, who 
was just bridging his cue for a good shot. 



106 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

Without the least discomposure, or diverting his mind from 
the game — without as much as turning his head — he said : 

" Oh, go away, and don't bother this game ! " 

The cool audacity of the man had such a remarkable effect 
on the would-be murderer, that he moodily slunk out of the 
room and put up his revolver, remarking : " The man must be 
either crazy or a fool." 

The Registrar was the hero of that day, while Cotton closed 
his bank for nearly a month. 

The Registrar was a most remarkable gentleman, and the 
chronicler hopes his veracity will not be questioned when he 
assures the reader that it took two handsful of buckshot, 
fired from a double-barreled gun, to kill that remarkable 
character, for such was his taking off. 

In relation to these important transactions, the author 
desires to say that they occurred along toward the latter part 
of the summer of '53, and are somewhat out of place, as 
well as in advance of still more important incidents yet to be 
related. 




REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 107 




CHAPTER VII. 

Joaquin Marietta and His Desperate Doings — A Reign of Terror — The 
Rangers — Captain Hope and Others — The Twin Brothers, Green and 
Wiley Marshall — Green's Adventures in Arizona — Death of the Two 
Brothers. 



STATED in the beginning of this history, on the 
arrest and confession of Keyes Feliz, Joaquin Murietta, 
his brother-in-law, who had for one or two years been 
domiciled among the angels, decamped, and was not heard of 
until the spring of 1853, when he commenced a succession 
of bold and successful operations in the southern mines, 
beginning at San Andres, in Calaveras County. His acts 
were so bold and daring, and attended with such remarkable 
success, that he drew to him all the Mexican outlaws, 
cut-throats and thieves that infested the country extending 
from San Diego to Stockton. !Nb one will deny the assertion 
•that Joaquin in his organizations, and the successful ramifica- 
tions of his various bands, his eluding capture, the secret 
intelligence conveyed from points remote from each other, 
manifested a degree of executive ability and genius that well 
fitted him for a more honorable position than that of chief of 
a band of robbers. In any country in America except the 
United States, the bold defiance of the power of the govern- 
ment, a half year's successful resistance, a. continuous con-' 
flict with the military and civil authorities and the armed 
populace — the writer repeats that in any other country in 
America other than the United States — the operations of 
Joaquin Marietta would have been dignified by the title 



108 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER 

of revolution, and the leader with that of rebel chief. For 
there is little doubt in the writer's mind that Joaquin's aims 
were higher than that of mere revenge and pillage. Educated 
in the school of revolution in his own country, where the line 
of demarkation between rebel and robber, pillager and patriot, 
was dimly defined, it is easy to perceive that Joaquin felt 
himself to be more the champion of his countrymen than an 
outlaw and an enemy to the human race. 

About the first of March depredating commenced in Cala- 
veras County, by the murder and robbery of teamsters and 
traveling miners. In April, emboldened by success, trading 
posts and mining camps were, raided and robbed ; stages were 
captured, the passengers pillaged and murdered, and a vessel 
plying on the San Joaquin River was taken and stripped in 
open daylight. 

By the middle of May the whole country from Stockton and 
San Jose to Los Angeles, a distance of 500 miles, was in arms ; 
murder and rapine were the order of the day ; the bandits 
seemed to be everywhere, and to strike when and where least 
expected. About the first of June two companies of Rangers 
were raised, one in Calaveras, under Captain Harry Love, and 
one in Los Angeles, commanded by Captain Alexander Hope, a 
bold spirit, in every way qualified by nature and experience to 
grapple with the desperate characters who held the country 
absolutely at their mercy, laughed at the officers of the law 
and bade defiance to the civil government. 

To show the value of our company and our appreciation, I 
am permitted to make the following extract from Colonel John 
O. Wheeler's great newspaper of the day, " The Southern Cali- 
fornian," of date October '54. . 

" Los ANGELES RANGERS. — In our last week's issue we 
regret to say that we neglected to notice the active and prompt 
assistance rendered by the Los Angeles Rangers in assisting in 
the arrest of some of the most dangerous desperadoes in this 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 109 

county, and who are, no doubt, in some way connected with 
the brutal murder of Mr. Ellington, of the Monte, two of whom 
are at present undergoing examination before our courts of jus- 
tice. Our only excuse to offer to the Kangers is, that the 
actions of this company are so prompt, active and secret, that 
in almost all cases the company is out on scout, returned, and 
the prisoner arraigned, before our citizens are aware of an out- 
lage having been committed in our community. Within the 
last few days parties of the Rangers have been scouring the 
country in search of murderers and robbers from the north, who 
are said to be at present in or near this county, and so far have 
assisted in the capture of some, and driven others across our 
border who were lurking here and trying to escape from 
justice. 

•' We are proud to think that this troop has the full confi- 
dence of our whole community, and the cry is on all such occa- 
sions as we were under the necessity of recording last week, 
' Where are the Rangers?' In all of their excursions, which 
have been many, their success, as our records in court will 
show, have been indeed wonderful. Only three or four days ago, 
on the arrival of a Sheriff from the north in search of a mur- 
derer, two parties started in pursuit, one party with Under- 
SherifF Hanniger, after a band of horse thieves who had stolen 
some horses from Hon. A. Stearns. They returned successful 
with both the thieves and horses, and the other remained on 
scout lentil the murderer was taken. 

" Last year our Legislature made a small appropriation for 
the use of this efficient troop, part of which has been spent for 
forage for the horses, equipage, and for necessary expenses 
while in the field, leaving a balance on hand in the keeping of 
the Treasurer of this county, which will be used for similar 
purposes, not one of the troop having received one cent of 
recompense for their services, as some of the Rangers in the 
north did. 

"We again say that we are proud of this little band, and 
assert that this company at the present time can vie, under the 
present Captain, with any company in this State. Our citizens 
and rancheros have formerly contributed to the support of 
this company, and we hope they will continue to do so. 



MR. EDITOR: — We wish, through your columns, to tender 

our heartfelt thanks to the Los Angeles Rangers, for the 

prompt assistance rendered by that efficient corps to us, in 

ferreting out the murderers of the unfortunate Major Ellington. 

Yours, with respect, 

THE CITIZENS OF THE MONTE. 



110 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

The company carried 100 names on its rolls, and the 
author hopes that, having been a member of that pioneer 
military corps, he will be pardoned for the assertion that 
they were as bold a band as ever flashed a sabre or answered to 
the blast of a bugle. Alas ! few of that gallant troop remain. 
Many followed the fortunes of the "gray-eyed m?.n of destiny," 
and their bones moulder in the tropical damps of Nicaragua. 
Others fell beneath the treacherous blows of the bloody 
Apache. Others were traced to the battlefields of the great 
Rebellion. 

A few were known to have fallen in personal broils. Most 
of them died in the saddle, but not one of that old Ranger 
band was ever known to find his way ignominiously to the 
interior of a prison, and the few that remain are of the most 
honored of onr citizens, and if the city of Los Angeles ever 
had anything to be proud of, it was her heroic Ranger 
defenders who rid the country of an innumerable horde of 
freebooters and assassins, who threatened a war of utter exter- 
mination on the comparatively few Americans that then inhab- 
ited the Southern counties. The surviving members known to 
be alive are W. W. Jenkins, D. W. Alexander, Cyrus Lyon, 
Capt. J. Q. A. Stanley, Horace Bell, the author hereof, all of Los 
Angeles County ; George McManus, merchant of Chihuahua ; 
Hon. H. N. Alexander, of Arizona Territory; David Brevoort, of 
New Mexico, and Montgomery Martin, of Philadelphia, the col- 
league of A. P. Crittenden, they being the first Representative 
in the State Legislature from Los Angeles County. The 
author wishes to say that in using the word "Mexican "he 
does not mean the native California rancheros, who generally 
co-operated with the authorities in the suppression of outlawry 
and contributed largely to the support of the Rangers. 

Among the most liberal of the supporters of the Rangers 
were, in. money, Phineas Banning; in horses, Don Pio Pico, the 
last of the Mexican Governors, Don Ygnacio Del Valle, John 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. Ill 

Rowland and the generous Isaac Williams, of Chino. I 
remember at one time Seiior Del Valle sent in one hundred 
well broken horses for the company to choose from, and take 
them all if they suited. 

About the time the Rangers took the field, one of the up- 
country Sheriffs came to Los Angeles in search of some particu- 
lar character, and on one beautiful Sabbath morning he was 
assassinated in the street. A few days^thereafter, the Marshal 
of the city, the one who succeeded the hangman, was stabbed 
to the heart in open daylight, by one Senati, at the corner of 
Los Angeles and Aliso streets. More will be said of Senati 
hereafter. • His name figures in one of the most bloody chapters 
in the history of the angels, which will be disposed of in due 
time. 

Only a few days later a cattle buyer, on his way to the city 
from the Dominguez Rancho, was killed and robbed by one 
Manuel Vergara, whose pursuit, escape and subsequent killing 
at Yurna will be also related at the proper time. Midnight 
raids and open day robbery and assassinations of defenseless or 
unsuspecting Americans were of almost daily occurrence in 
either one part of the country or another, at the time the 
Rangers took the field. 

We had two brothers in the company who are worthy 
of mention, Green and Wiley Marshall, natives of Texas. 
Young men raised on the frontier, both members of Captain 
Sam Walker's famous Ranger company that gained such 
renown in the war with Mexico. They were twin brothers, 
and were never separated but twice in their lives, and the 
second time was the last on earth. If separated only for a day 
they seemed lost. A kind of homesickness would overcome 
both twin brothers. They always went together on all of 
our expeditions, riding side by side. They were recklessly 
brave and of course perfect in the use of arms and expert in 
horsemanship. Generous to a fault, the two Marshall boys 



112 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

were great, favorites in the company. They were the beau 
ideal of the American frontier Ranger. In the spring of '50 
they started overland from Texas to California, and before they 
fairly got beyond the settlements, Wiley was taken seriously 
ill, so much so that after halting in camp for several days, and 
Wiley still continuing ill, it was determined that the company 
should proceed overland and that the sick jnan should go by 
easy stages, being convalescent, to G-alveston, thence by sea 
to San Francisco. After this arrangement, the brothers sep- 
arated for the first time in their lives, even for a day. 

Wiley arrived in San Francisco in due time, and after the 
lapse of ninety days from the starting overland of his brother, 
and no tidings (ninety days being deemed ample time for the 
journey to San Diego, the objective point), and a month passed 
and another month. Still no tidings, and Wiley went to San 
Diego and anxiously waited another month, and not a rumor ot 
the lost company, and the devoted brother mounted a horse, 
and with a pack mule started overland alone in search of his 
missing twin brother. 

He found him at Tucson, an invalid, emaciated and helpless, 
slowly recovering from a multiplicity of wounds, any one of 
which would ordinarily have killed a person. 

Green gave the following statement of his adventures, which 
he related time and again to the writer, on night rides and in 
bivouac, and the horrible scars visible on his person needed no 
recital ; they spoke for themselves. 

Green said their journey was extremely pleasant, no serious 
annoyance from the Indians, fine grass for their animals, plenty 
of game, which kept their camp constantly supplied with fresh 
buffalo meat and venison. Their trip was one of unalloyed 
pleasure to all except himself, who felt a constant and worri- 
some anxiety for the loss of his brother's society. The party 
numbered seventeen men. They passed the New Mexican set- 
tlements on the Rio Grande, and the 90-mile Jornada from 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 113 

the great river to the Pinos Altos Mountains, and had, as they 
thought, passed over half the distance from the Rio Grande to 
Tucson, and must have been somewhere in the vicinity of what 
is now known as Apache Pass. One morning, while engaged 
in packing up, they were attacked by the Apaches. Green was 
stricken down senseless, and lay in that condition, as he 
thought, an hour or more, when he revived and found himself 
in a deluge of blood and covered with wounds. Fortunately 
he had his canteen of water, which had been prepared for the 
day, and still had sufficient strength to raise it to his lips and 
drink. He then wiped the blood from his eyes, raised himself 
by a chaparral bush and bewilderingly took in the surround- 
ings. Fifty yards from where he totteringly stood, the horrible 
spectacle of his slaughtered comrades, stark, mutilated and 
scalped, presented themselves to his horrified view. The 
savages were laughingly engaged in dividing the spoils of 
the camp. He said he must have gazed on the horrid scene 
for full five minutes, at the expiration of which time he began 
to realize his situation. He turned to move away, and at the 
first step he fell to the ground. He then took another draught 
from his canteen and crawled away, some 100 yards, when he 
raised himself by another bush, looked first in the direction 
of the bloody camp and then in the opposite direction, and 
to his inexpressible joy, within thirty yards he saw his own 
mule, saddled and bridled, and just as he had left it when the 
attack was made. His first thought was, would it permit him 
to catch it. Ordinarily it would, but his bloody condition, 
and the fright of the mule in the great excitement of the 
attack, caused him grave and harrowing doubts of its permit- 
ting him even to approach it. No time, however, was to 
be lost, and he first spoke to the mule, and to his utter 
surprise and joy, with a low bray of seeming delight, it came 
directly up and stood beside him. With another draught 

which emptied the canteen and a desperate effort, he succeeded 
8 



114 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

in mounting, and the faithful and intelligent animal without 
any guidance, or urging forward, moved hastily away, over the 
chaparral-covered plains. By this time the sun had nearly 
reached meridian, and onward went the faithful mule, poor 
Green exerting to his utmost his fast-failing strength to main- 
tain himself in the saddle. At last the poor mule quickened 
her pace, she had scented water. In an hour more, which 
brought the time to about the middle of the afternoon, the 
lig"ht-footed little mule brought him to a beautiful cienega 
(oasis) fringed with shady willows. He dismounted and 
quenched his burning thirst and cooled his heated head in the 
limpid water, and laid him down to rest in the protecting 
shade of one of the trees bordering the cienega. In a brief 
space of time he fell asleep, and slept delightfully for at least 
two hours. He awoke to find his faithful companion quietly 
grazing on the luxuriant grass that abounded in profusion. It 
was nearly sunset, and he began seriously and calmly to con- 
sider the situation. Another drink and he felt strong. He 
then proceeded to strip his mule of saddle and bridle and tie 
her with the picket rope, which had been coiled and securely 
fastened to the pommel of his saddle. The next thing was to 
attempt an examination of his wounds. His face and nose were 
slashed open horizontally across, which seemed to have been 
done by a lance thrust transversely under the nose, and cutting 
outwardly through the surface. He found three lance thrusts 
through his body, and one that seemed to penetrate the lungs. 
Fortunately he had a change of clothing inside his blankets, 
which had been strapped on behind his saddle, so he proceeded 
to remove his bloody clothes, wash himself as best he could, 
and bandage his wounds. He then dressed himself and felt 
somewhat comfortable, spread his blankets and again went to 
sleep. When morning came he felt the gnawings of hunger, 
and set himself to work to prepare his breakfast. Arras he had 
none, save his knife. Whether or not he had used his rifle and 



REMINISCENCES OF A BANGER. 115 

revolvers, he had no recollection. However, a man of his 
schooling is seldom without resources. He had his Mexican 
mecha (flint and steel), and he proceeded to make a fire. He 
then dug some tule roots, roasted and ate them. He then 
procured some prickly pears, burned the thorns off, carefully 
scraped them, split them in two and bound them to his wounds. 
He then put in the whole day in roasting tule roots for his 
onward journey toward the setting sun. Another night in 
camp, a breakfast of roots, a canteen full of water, a copious 
draught, and the forlorn but brave young fellow took up his 
line of march, determined to defy even fate itself. The first 
day exhausted his canteen of water ; on the fourth his roots 
were gone, and his case seemed hopeless. The fifth day and no 
water, and he made a camp and passed the night in a half- 
delirious state. In the morning he determined to sacrifice his 
last and only friend, the mule ; but how was he to do even that, 
he had his bowie knife, but not the strength to use it. After 
mature deliberation he securely tied the mule's head to a sub- 
stantial bush, and supporting himself by its neck he drove the 
knife into its neck vein. It stood perfectly still, and he glued 
his lips to its gushing life-stream and satisfied both thirst and 
hunger. He then filled his canteen with the blood of his faith- 
ful companion, and by this time it sank down and expired. 
He put in another day in cutting up and jerking the mule's 
meat, and on the following day he recommenced his journey 
westward. On foot and solitary he pursued his lonely march. 
Sometimes, but seldom, he would find water. The second day 
after killing his mule, he struck a road and then lost it ; he 
counted the days up to fifteen and then became delirious and 
insensible to all around him. When he regained his reason he 
found himself in a clean bed and a comfortable room, and soon 
learned that he was in the house of a benevolent priest of a 
Mexican village that proved to be Tuscon ; that some herders 
in search of cattle had found him wandering aimlessly on the 



116 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

burning desert, about twenty miles from the village ; had ad- 
ministered such relief as they could, and then brought him to 
the. priest, under whose benevolent care he had then been two 
weeks. 

The priest informed him that in addition do the other horri- 
ble wounds, the air passed through a great opening under his 
left breast to the lungs. H« said it took him another full week 
to collect his scattered senses and remember the horrible occur- 
rences just detailed. Late in the season Green, in company with 
his twin brother, arrived in safety in Los Angeles, and after- 
wards became members of the Ranger Company. 

During the troublous times of '52, '53 and '54, sufficient 
excitement was furnished in the southern counties to satisfy 
the most mercurial adventurer, but in '55 and '56 dull times 
began to grow apace, and the restless spirits of the country 
began to cast about for more prolific fields of adventure. In 
the summer of '56 the Marshall brothers made up their minds 
to go to Nicaragua and join their fortunes with the conquering 
filibusters who ruled that country. Wiley went down first, 
leaving Green to settle up some mining business in Calaveras 
County. Green failed to arrive in August, as intended, and 
in September Wiley was appointed to the command of an 
impoitant enterprise known in the history of the filibuster war 
as the "Hair-brained expedition of Wiley Marshall. 1 ' A hun- 
dred men mounted and armed with revolvers, went sixty miles 
to attack a fortress defended by five times their number — 
one of the most foolhardy attempts — not exceeded in stupid 
gallantry by Texas Tom Green storming an iron-clad gunboat 
on Red liiver with double-barreled shotguns. Of course the 
expedition failed — a bloody repulse was the result. When the 
expedition left Masaya, where the writer was stationed, Wiley 
came to take his leave, and the writer inquired when he 
thought Green would be down. He answered nervously, " Oh, 
didn't I tell you ? Green is dead." 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 117 

"Impossible," said I; "did we not hear from him by the 
last steamer?" 

"Oh, yes." he replied, "but he died day before yesterday, 
and I am only half a man now," and he smiled sadly. 

" Don't look so incredulous," said he. " I knew the very 
moment of his death, and thought I was going myself at the 
time, and nothing but the excitement of this important com- 
mand would have sufficed to arouse me from the shock." 

Thirty hours later and Wiley was dead. His command was 
cut to pieces by the enemy, repulsed, driven, and followed 
eighteen miles by the enemy's lancers. Wiley had his thigh 
shattered by a ball ; was mounted on his horse, and rode that 
eighteen miles with his shattered leg dangling at the side of his 
horse, all the time insisting on maintaining his position in the 
rear of his flying command. Arriving at a place of safety he 
was taken off his horse, and died in less than two minutes. 

I afterwards learned that Green, the twin brother, died in 
California on the very day stated by Wiley, and they were 
3,000 miles apart at the time, The writer relates this as a 
fact, and leaves it to science to explain the cause if it can. 

This digression has led the reader a long way from Southern 
California, but when informed that many now residing in Los 
Angeles remember the two IJilai shall boys, even if not so familiar 
with the peculiar and mysterious affinity existing between them 
as was the writer, and the remarkable tenacity of life, as mani- 
fested by both brothers, was so peculiar in itself, the narrative 
having also a tendency to show the manner of men composing 
the Ranger company, and the dangers encountered in getting 
to this laud of gold in early times, all of which is certainly a 
reasonable excuse for the digression. 



118 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 



CHAPTER VIII. 

The Great Western Napoleon — The Grand Gringo Campaign Against the 
Desert Indians — Don Benito Wilson, the Honest Indian Agent — The 
Indians Steal His Horses — A Vindictive Pursuit — Don Vicente de 
La Osa and His Reinforcement — The Padres of Old. 




humble military chronicler proposes in the future, 
as he has done in the past, to write up all the wars 
and campaigns in which he has ever participated, 
not for self glorification, or with the vain hope of being 
considered a military critic, but with the unselfish desire to 
enroll on the page of history the names of all the great 
military commanders under whom he has had the honor of 
serving, in a subordinate capacity. In the past he has had 
somewhat to say of his first campaign, under the immortal 
Winn in hig famous and sanguinary "El Dorado war," in 
1850. He has written up the murderous conflict in Nicaragua, 
and has given to the world an unvarnished picture of the 
"gray-eyed man," who deluged that fair country in blood and 
left her proud cities smouldering ruins. In the future he pro- 
poses, in his most truthful style, to give an account of some of 
the grand reviews, marches and countermarches, advances and 
retreats, of "the Great Western Napoleon," and will dilate 
largely on General Banks' grand cotton grabbing expedition up 
Red River, and will say a great deal about the grand and 
splendid strategic sparring by those two great masters in the 
art, Edward R. S. Canby and John Bankhead Magruder, with 
St. Louis as the stake played for. But the present page will be 
devoted to the last grand campaign of the warlike angels 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 119 

against the barbaric horde that had from the days of "Los 
Fundadores," made periodical predatory raids into this fair 
and fat land, for the purpose of stocking their ever depleted 
larders with sirloins and steaks cut fresh from our noble mus- 

• 

tangs. The noble red men of the mountains and desert had 
worried the haughty Spaniard greatly, was sometimes pursued 
by him vigorously, was often spitted on the lance of the 
revengeful Spaniard, who objected to having his worldly wealth 
driven off and converted into mince pies by those aboriginal 
cooks, who did not even know the use of Chili peppers. The 
war between the Spaniard and the desert Indian was vindictive 
in the extreme ; prisoners were seldpm taken on either side, 
the Spaniard, well knowing that if taken alive, death by fire 
and torture awaited him. While on the other hand, the 
Indian, if captured, was subject to a fate not less cruel, that 
is to say, he was unceremoniously turned over to the gentle 
Mission priests, was duly baptized, taught the catechism 
converted into a first-class Christian and a most useful slave, 
and had his soul saved at the expense of his body. Lassoing 
converts was the most noble occupation of the time, and tradi- 
tion gives the name and exploits of a certain devout friar, who 
earned a crown immortal by his success in capturing converts 
with the lasso and converting them with the lash. 

The last aboriginal foray, and the first American pursuit, is 
to be the present task of this proud historian, .who feels great 
pride in making known to the world that he served personally 
in a campaign so brilliant, so decisive, a pursuit so energetic, so 
rapid, so vindictive, as to ever after deter the barbarians from 
an attempt to steal mustangs from the descendants of Boone, 
Kenton and other great American backwoodsmen, who always 
killed an Indian before they skinned him . 

To be brief and to the point (and brevity and pointedness are 
the greatest of all literary virtues), in the Spring of 1852, the 
Great Father, at the Capital of our great country, appointed 



120 REMINISCENCES OK A RANGER. 

our highly esteemed fellow-citizen, Don Benito Wilson, step- 
father to all the Indians hereabouts; and a good step-father, 
sure enough, was generous old Don Banito to his dusky proteges. 
Don Benito seemed tp love all mankind. .No doubt exists in 
the mind of this chronicler that Don Benito did love the whole 
human family; and Don Benito seemed to have a special love 
and regard for the red branch thereof — the poor Indian. He 
always had a smile, a kind word, and was wont to manifest his 
love for his charge in substantial gratuities. But one time Don 
Benito got mad at the Indians, and, like the immortal Wash- 
ington, in .his wrath he was terrible. Who can blame the kind- 
hearted Indian agent for -getting mad at the Indians, when on 
their last grand raid into this happy valley the rascally redskins 
stole a great number of harses from Don Benito, and not even 
the hair of a horse did the ungrateful vagabonds of the desert 
steal from anybody else. The idea of Indians stealing horses 
from the only honest Indian agent possibly that ever breathed 
the foul air of the Indian Bureau — one who had never even 
contemplated or thought of the ease of making ten dollars out 
of a pair of two-dollar blankets ! Don Benito, without doubt, 
was an out-and-out honest Indian agent, and the Indians that 
stole his horses, and passed through other men's herds to get 
at them, were the most ungrateful and rascally set of redskins 
that the bloody page of history gives any account of. 

In May, 1853, just before the organization of the Ranger 
Company, the desert Indians came through the Soledad Pass, 
then over the rugged San Fernando mountains, rode past the 
many herds grazing in the San Fernando valley, came through 
the Cahuenga Pass, crossed the Brea Rancho, teeming with 
equine life, swept over the Rancho Rodeo de las Aguas, and 
raided Don Benito's ranch beyond, and retraced their steps by 
the way they came in, religiously respecting the rights of proper- 
ty in all others save Don Benito's. Certainly a strange freak of 
aboriginal human nature. When the raiders came in we were 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 121 

not exactly informed. They had been concealed in one of the 
canons of the Cahuenga range, had stolen the horses and 
departed on a Sunday night, and on Monday morning the news 
was brought in to the indignant agent, who called for volun- 
teers to pursue and recapture his stolen property, and to 
properly chastise the ungrateful wretches. In two hours the 
Gringo element was astir. Ferocious looking warriors dashed 
up and down Main street, with an immense clatter of spurs, 
with comfortable-looking rolls of blankets substantially strapped 
on behind their saddles, which said blankets had been patriot- 
ically and gratuitously given by our generous merchants. Can- 
teens were in great demand, and when a hero was fortunate 
enough to secure one, away he would dash to the "Bella 
Union" or the "Montgomery," where the canteen would be 
passed in to generous old Hodges, of the former place, or to the 
chivalrous Getman, of the latter, and the said canteens would 
be promptly returned to their respective owners, filled with 
something more efficacious on a campaign than holy water or 
cold tea. Moving an army is a slow, business, moving volun- 
teers is aggravatingly slow, and several times we mustered to 
march, and still some sluggard was not yet ready. So it must 
have been full one o'clock when we boldly marched forth with 
the determination fully expressed in the eagle eye of our Colonel 
— for be it known, gentle reader, that up to that campaign 
Don Benito had only been a simple Captain. It was on that 
grand and warlike occasion, 1 believe, that our gallant comman- 
der won his imaginary spread eagles. As before stated, we 
boldly marched forth with the determination fully expressed in 
the eagle eye of our Colonel, and brilliantly reflected by the eyes 
of all that gallant band, to skin Indians enough to supply the 
demand for razor straps for the next generation. 

We marched out in '-'column of fours," the brave author 
forming a column with the lamented Billy Reader, Bill Jenkins 
and Cy. Lyon. A more gallant quartette, judging from our 



122 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

respective opinion of ourselves, never rode forth to uphold 
civilization or cut down an infidel. Cy. wanted to know if we 
thought we could scalp an Indian without dismounting. He 
said he could, and his red head looked redder. Poor Billy 
Reader said our commander was a Christian gentleman, and 
would not permit such barbarous acts. Bill Jenkins, who 
always had an eye to the substantial, said he had no intention 
of either killing or scalping, but he would like to capture about 
a dozen or so of stout young bucks, as he proposed to com- 
mence the planting and cultivation of a vineyard, and he 
begged us, his three comrades, to spare our prisoners for his 
sake. 

In two hours we were at the Colonel's ranch, where we did 
ample justice to well-cooked beef, coffee and tortillas. We 
then made inquiry as to the number of mustangs stolen, and 
staked our horses out to graze, by which time the brilliant orb 
of day had gone quietly to rest behind those horrid hills of 
Santa Monica. The warriors concluded to rest their weary 
limbs and enjoy the bountiful hospitality of our brave and 
generous commander, and pass the night at the ranch. Of 
course our fiery chargers would be in better plight for a forced 
march on the morrow. So, with a repetition of beef, tortillas 
and coffee, the brave and determined band disposed of itself for 
the night, before comfortable camp fires, wrapped in the most 
comfortable blankets, to dream of victory on the morrow. The 
morrow came, of course, and with it the third repetition of 
beef, tortillas and coffee, which was discussed with as much 
solemnity as was the last supper of the brave Spartan band at 
the pass of Thermopylae, when their profane captain informed 
them that it was quite probable they would breakfast in hell. 
This historian repeats that we ate a hearty breakfast, for the 
reason that each warrior well knew and evidently realized that 
we were going forth from the Valley of the Angels to do battle 
with the savage in the great desert beyond. 



REMINISCENCES OF A BANGER. 123 

We feasted like veterans ; no confusion, no hurry ; all cool- 
ness, except the coffee, which was deliciously hot. It must 
have been nine o'clock A. M. by the time our brave commander 
mustered his gallant band for the deliberately-planned pursuit. 
Our commander dispensed with the usual formality of a speech, 
but his manner was more eloquent than words. His unspoken 
words, which were mutely responded to by that heroic band of 
which this proud historian boasts of having been one, were : 
" We will let those rascally redskins know that they have no 
longer to deal with the Spaniard or the Mexican, but with the 
invincible race of American backwoodsmen, which has driven 
the savage from Plymouth Rock to the Rocky Mountains, and 
has headed him off here on the western shore of the continent, 
and will drive him back to meet his kindred fleeing westward, 
all to be drowned in the great Salt Lake/' 

Those were the noble sentiments that inspired this patriotic 
historian, and were participated in, of course, by all that 
devoted band on that martial occasion. We marched, we moved 
up that canon, known to-day as "Beach's Canon," until it 
grew quite narrow, when our cool-headed commander ordered 
a halt, and addressed himself to Billy Sandford, who was 
second in command of the expedition, and said: "I think we 
had better get out of this canon and on to the ridge." While 
thus halted he told us a story, while the command inspected 
canteens, many of which, on being shaken, emitted sounds un- 
satisfactory to a military ear. Our commander said that on 
the occasion or a former raid into the valley, the Indians were 
pursued by a party under Andres Pico, who followed them up 
a canon, and that the Indians concealed themselves in the chap- 
arral, and after having permitted their pursuers to pass, at- 
tacked them in the rear, and tried to drive them ahead with 
their herd of stolen mustangs. Andres, however, objected to 
being driven forward, faced his command about, and desper- 
ately charged through the savages; and after having cut his 



- 

124 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

way out, said to his- subordinates, " Great God, what a magnifi- 
cent escape." We all laughed heartily at the story, and our 
commander said he proposed to profit by the fortunate experience 
of the gallant Andres, and never lead an army into a canon. 
Canteens were duly passed, and- each warrior gazed thoughtfully 
at the rugged hight above, and when this pious ceremony was 
over, our commander took the lead and commenced the laborious 
task of surmounting that ridge. Owing to the density of the 
chaparral the ascent was terribly difficult, and had the ridge 
been crowned with blazing batteries, as was the famous Lookout 
Mountain, I doubt if we had ever attained its rugged summit. 
However, after hours of scrambling, we not only surmounted 
the ridge, but in safety stood on the summit of the Cahuenga 
range and gazed on the magnificent San Fernando Valley, in 
all its beauty, like a great green carpet spread out before us, 
and the Valley of the Angels and the Pacific ocean in our 
rear. Two hours later, in the middle of the afternoon, we 
drew up in martial array before the hospitable castle of the 
lordly Don Vicente de la Osa, the baronial proprietor of 
the Rancho del Encino, who cordially invited us to dismount, 
stake our jaded mustangs and refresh the inner man, an 
invitation we joyfully acceded to, for the reason that the six 
mile march over those rugged hights had jaded the warrior as 
well as the war horse. 

Mustangs staked, there commenced a doleful and disap- 
pointed shaking of canteens, which the jovial old Don Vicente 
observing, said, "Que le hace? aqui hay bastante." (What's 
the matter; there is plenty here.) And in the twinkling of 
an eye a demijohn was duly mustered in as a welcome rein- 
forcement to our warlike party. For two hours more those 
redskin raiders had a respite from that vindictive, vigorous 
pursuit. At the end of the two hours, however, there had 
been the fourth repetition of beef, tortillas and coffee. Then 
we held a council of war, of which Don Vicente became the 



KEMINlSCENCfCS OF A RANGER. 125 

principal spokesman. He said the Indians had passed his 
ranch at about midnight ; that at daylight on Monday morn- 
ing they crossed the San Fernando mountains, and were just 
forty hours ahead of us ; that they were evidently Owens 
River Indians, and well on their way to that desert fastness, 
and it would be folly to think of further successful pursuit. 
We had been two days on the march, were fifteen miles from 
our base of liquid supplies ; the ammunition carried in our 
canteens was utterly exhausted. We had done all that invinci- 
ble gringos could be expected to do. We felt sure that gringo 
prestige had not suffered, even if the contributors of blankets 
and liquid supplies had. That the Indian raiders had made a 
"magnificent escape," and that they had at least suffered 
a great scare, this last fact being duly verified by subsequent 
history, this being the first time they were ever pursued by the 
American conquerers, and this famous raid being the last ever 
made by the Indians into the Valley of the Angels. 

It is with the greatest possible reverence I refer to the Mis- 
sion Fathers, and their manner of dealing with the Indians. 
My opinion of and respect for those holy men is such that, 
feeling my matter-of-fact, prosaic style wholly inadequate for 
expression, I have therefore enlisted in that behoof my poetic 
friend, Albert Fenner Kercheval, and will finish this chapter 
with his lively poem. 



THE PADRES OP OLD. 

They were merry old fellows in cassock and gown, 

Those jolly old knights of the smooth-shaven crown,. 

Those lion-souled, eagle-eyed Padres of Spain, 

Who lorded it grandly o'er mountain ana plain ; 

As ready with fair Senorita to dance 

As grant absolution, or balance a lance; 

Whose churches and missions impregnable stood, 

And did to the heathen what seemed to them good ; 

They brought up proud sinners with sharp, sudden pulls, . 

And lassoed their converts like broncos and bulls, 

Or gathered confessions from red, rosy lips, 



126 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

To hoard as the treasure the honey bee sips, 

With hands that were ready and hearts that were bold : 

How I envy those clean-shaven Padres of old! 

With fair purple vineyards and wide-spreading flocks, 

They sighed not for riches, they cared not for " stocks " — 

Not "Comstocks," at least, though they bellowed and gored, 

And fought for a " rise " at the Devil's " Big Board " 

With a genuine reckless " Bonanza King's" gieed, 

And cornered the stock in eternity's "lead," 

Refusing all offers of Satan to sell 

" Salvation's " sure stock, though they " shorted " on " Hell, 

And played for the kingdom, with Satan and sin, 

When souls were the " divvys," and gathered them in ; 

With stores of frijoles and flagons of wine, 

They craved not the treasures of city or mine; 

With princely possessions to have and to hold, 

They were bully old fellows—those Padres of old. 




REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 127 



CHAPTER IX. 

The Great Ohio Mail Robber Seeks Refuge in Los Angeles and is Arrested — 
The Royal Bengal Tiger — A Stir Among the Angels — A Coel Lawyer — 
Fourth of July Celebration at San Pedro and Los A.ngeles — Alexander 
& Banning — Don Juan Sepulveda and the Patriotic Spanish-Ameri- 
cans — A Reminiscence by an Old Mexican Captain — Commodore 
Mervine's March on Los Angeles — His Repulse — Patriotic Mexicans 
Fire a Salute Over the Americans Killed in the Battle — Brave 
Higuera — A Curious Court Scene. 



*N MAY 1853, we' had a very illustrious accession to our 
gringo element in the person of General 0. B. Hinton, 
formerly of Ohio, and one of the great western orators 
of the early times. The General was accompanied by his wife, 
a most lusciously beautiful woman of about eighteen or twenty 
summers that seemed to have passed gently over her fair form 
and face. The General was rough and grizzled with the storms 
of over half a century of rugged western winters, and registered 
himself at the Star Hotel, as "Samuel B. Gordon and lady, 
Portland, Oregon," and at once gave out that he was an Oregon 
lawyer of lucrative practice, and had only sought our genial 
clime on account of the fair flower that accompanied him being 
too delicate to withstand the chill fogs and Siberian blasts of 
Oregon. In a brief space of time the General became proprie- 
tor of the hotel, in which ne placed the " Royal Bengal Tiger," 
by name, Abdul Crib Mullah, as steward, and hung out his 
shingle as one of our pioneer attorneys, and was the first to file 
in our court a divorce suit. Everything seemed to flourish with 
the distinguished gentleman for a time. The Fourth of July 
rolled around in its usual way, and Samuel was the orator of 



128 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

the day. It so happened that we had one Dave Khinehardt 
here, who had, in the prosperous days of the eminent gentle- 
man, rendered service in the capacity of coachman, hostler, or 
something of the sort, and it still further happened that Samuel 
B. had, most unfortunately for himself, failed to pay Dave for 
the same service, and it still more unfortunately happened that 
the great Oregon lawyer was a great offender against the 
Government, and a fugitive from justice, and Dave knew all 
about it. So one morning while Samuel was trying our first 
divorce suit, that of Malcom vs. Malcom, the frail defendant 
being one of our fair California Spanish ladies who was proven 
to have played false to her marriage vow and to her noble 
gringo master. The elegant John H. Hughes was on the stand 
as a witness and had just sworn to his personal knowledge of 
the defendant's delinquency, when a Deputy United States 
Marshal laid heavy hands on the great fugitive and read to him 
his warrant of arrest. Talk about self possession, but I assure 
the reader on the honor of a veracious story-teller, that that 
lawyer showed no manner of trepidation, uneasiness or discompo- 
sure, but politely requesting the astonished official to excuse 
him until he had discharged his duty to bis client, quietly 
resumed his case which was argued and submitted, and then he, 
with a polite apology to the officer for having kept him waiting 
placed himself at his disposition, was taken to the old adobe 
on the hill, was tenderly chained and staked out on that old 
historical pine log, and then the inquiry went like wildfire, 
" Who is he ; what has he done?" And the arrest caused quite 
a stir among us gentle angels. It required about two days to 
learn all about the strange old man and his previous history, 
his crimes against the government; his arrest, escape and flight, 
and his final capture in the manner and place above described. 
General 0. B. Hinton was a distinguished Ohio politician, a 
great mail contractor, and owner of many stage lines in the 
western states, was a United States mail agent, and had sue- 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 129 

cessfully robbed the mails without being suspected, for a 
succession of years, was at last suspected, decoyed and entrap- 
ped ; was arrested and thrown in jail. His sons were men 
of means. The jailer was supposed to have been bribed, and 
the distinguished captive escaped, got on board a New Orleans 
steamer, from which he transhipped to a Havana steamer, and 
in safety walked the soil of the faithful isle. He was followed to 
New Orleans, and a steamer was chartered and pursued him to 
the harbor of Havana, but the great mail robber was safe for 
the time being under the crown of Spain. This occurred, I 
believe, in 1849 or 1850. The fact of his being so vigorously 
pursued gave him a bad notoriety in Cuba, and he was placed 
under surveillance. The Government secretly offered $40,000 
for his arrest and delivery ; he fled from Cuba and came to 
San Francisco, and the first man he met recognized him. 
Whither to flee he knew not. He saw a steamship with her 
smoke stacks emitting volumes of black smoke, and as soon as 
he could rid himself of his old acquaintance, he walked on 
board without inquiring the destination of the craft, which 
turned out to be Portland, Oregon, where he arrived and 
remained, went into business, prospered, married the fair crea- 
ture who accompanied him, and continued in Portland until 
again recognized ; took the steamer to San Francisco ; and 
the steamer to Los Angeles being the first to leave, he came 
here as above stated. General Kichardson, the United States 
Marshal, came here in person for the eminent ex-politician, 
appointed . a squad of special deputies, of whom the pious 
writer was one, to convey him safely on board the steamer at 
San Pedro. The Marshal safely arrived in San Francisco with 
his important charge, and two days thereafter he, the mail 
robber, was on his wa> to the Sandwich Islands, having 
escaped the meshes of the law on a writ of habeas corpus. 
That was the last ever known of our illustrious quondam 
Fourth of July orator and hotel proprietor. His fair young 



130 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

wife eloped with a gambler and went to San Diego, which was 
the last known of her. 

It transpired that Dave Rhinehardt interviewed the great 
fugitive, and promised if he would pay his past indebtedness 
his secret would be kept, and if not mistaken, I believe he 
paid Dave, who afterwards gave information to our convivial 
and warlike United States District Attorney. This incident 
has only been related to show what a great loss we -sustained 
when the General was taken away from us. Generals were 
Generals in those days, and we deeply felt the great loss we 
sustained on that occasion. What eminence the General might 
have attained among the angels is hard to say. It is quite 
certain, however, that, had he remained and taken up with the 
noble trade of office-seeking, he might have attained eminent 
local distinction. 

Speaking of Fourth of July celebrations, reminds me of the 
most particularly convivial one that this very patriotic his- 
torian ever participated in, which occurred at San Pedro in 
that memorable year 1853. That ancient commercial entrepot 
was larger then than at present, the founding of Wilmington 
not having as yet been projected by General Banning, its 
illustrious founder and patron. The glory of San Pedro, 
as that of imperial Rome, proud Venice and expectant San 
Diego, has departed, the author fears never to return ; 
Carthage had her rival in Rome ; San Pedro had a merciless 
rival in fair Wilmington, and now you behold a dilapidated 
sheep corral that seems to say in solemn silence, " Here stood 
San Pedro, the peerless." 

San Pedro was at the time referred to a great place ; it had 
no streets, for none were necessary. No prison admonished the 
evil-doer to give San Pedro a wide berth. No church invited 
the piously-inclined to seek religious consolation at the lively 
port. No ! there was nothing of that sort, but the author 
solemnly asseverates that there was a liberty pole at San Pedro, 



REMINISCENCES OF A EANGER. 131 

from which proudly floated the Flag of Freedom. That there 
were two mud scows, a ship's anchor and a fishing boat, a mul- 
tiplicity of old broken-down Mexican carts, a house, a large 
hay-stack and mule corral, and our old friend the gallant Laura 
Sevan, floating swan-like at her anchorage, on that beautiful 
Fourth of July. 

Alexander and Banning administered the government at San 
Pedro at the time mentioned. Don George Alexander, he of 
the big heart, worthy brother of the generous Don David, a 
noble, whole-souled, true-hearted American, bursting and boil- 
ing over with love of country and patriotism; and ardent 
Phineas, who was not then even a captain, and did not dream 
of ever adorning his well-developed shoulders with stars 
plucked from the American constellation. Phineas Banning 
has, since that memorable '53, risen to the rank of General — 
an honest and well-merited distinction, merited if for no other 
service save the princely hospitality dispensed on our first 
national feast day above referred to, w r hich he has continued to 
the present day. It is useless to say that Banning is still on 
hand on every patriotic occasion ; but generous old Don Goorge, 
after a quarter of a century of usefulness spent among us 
betook himself to some other field of enterprise, and is, I 
believe, yet living, and may God speed him — for a truer patriot 
or better Christian never -dwelt in the blessed land of the 
angels. 

For a week or more the patriotic proprietors of San Pedro 
gave out by word of mouth, and published in both English and 
Spanish, a general invitation to the whole county and the 
counties adjoining, and to the world, including San Bernardino, 
then exclusively Mormon, San Diego and Mexico, to come to 
San Pedro and assist in the patriotic demonstrations to be then 
and there held. On the morning of the 3d, Alexander and 
Banning's stages left the Angels for San Pedro crowded with 
guests, and returned for another living freight; every imaginable 



132 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

conveyance to be found in the city, from Lanfranco's pioneer 
sulky to a Mexican cart, was pressed into service, and 
troops of gaily dressed and splendidly mounted caballeros, 
accompanied by light and airy equestriennes, were seen tak- 
ing up their line of march to the place of promised fes- 
tivities, while old Uncle Dave Anderson, boiling over with 
patriotic music, was seen going out of town prominently seated 
in a grand improvised music car, accompanied by the elite of 
our angelic musical world, while the whole country seemed to 
be on the move by noon of the 3d of July. The happy and 
light-hearted rancheros who, up to that time, knew not of 
trouble, hard times or oppressive taxation, turned out in force 
to assist their new-made kinsfolk, the liberty-loving Yankees, 
in celebrating the common birthday of liberty, and by the 
time the shades of evening fell on the patriotic city, 2,000 
guests, of all ages, sexes and nationalities, had paid their 
respects to their liberal entertainers, who, until the evening of 
the 5th, dispensed a hospitality more than princely. It was 
superlatively royal, it was grand, full-handed and without 
stint. 

That gallant old Yankee skipper, Captain Morton, put in 
an appearance several days prior to the Fourth with his beauti- 
ful little clipper the Laura Sevan, freighted with good things 
both edible and drinkable for the grand and hospitable occasion. 
The unpatriotic reader will naturally inquire where we all ate 
and slept when there was but one house in the city. Answering 
for one patriot, the author will say that he did not sleep during 
the time spent in merry-making, and as for eating, it was one 
perpetual eat. The long dining table was kept going every 
hour, night and day; the musicians and dancers relieved each 
other; those not engaged in eating or dancing were engaged 
in toasting, responding to toasts, speech-making or singing 
patriotic songs. A crowd of Americans roared "Hail Colum- 
bia," another crowd the " Star Spangled Banner" and "Yankee 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 133 

Doodle," a knot of gay Frenchmen made night melodious with 
the soul inspiring "Marseillaise," while the patriotic Mexican 
kept up the " Ponchada " and 

" Marchamos Mexicauos, 
March amoft con valor, 

Y viva la libel tad." 

In this manner we passed the night of the 3d. On the 
morning of the 4th a grand procession was formed with jovial 
old Judge Dryden on foot as Grand Marshal. Over a thousand 
patriots were in line. We did not march through the principal 
streets, but marched around and around the liberty pole, hur- 
rahing and cheering all the time the gay flag of freedom that 
. so proudly floated over us. The procession then formed a 
grand hollow square and each patriot was given a bottle of 
champagne with the cork started and a glass. When this dispo- 
sition was made, Don George stepped out in front of the hollow 
square and requested the attention of the guests. Every man 
was silent attention. Then said patriotic Don George, and his 
words were duly interpreted into Spanish and French : 

"Gentlemen, 1 will give a toast which when drank will be fol- 
lowed with three cheers. Gentlemen, here is to the Presi- 
dent of the United States." Every man drank, and three 
immense cheers followed. Every man drank, and cheered except 

one, Tom , he who pitted himself against old Dimmick 

in defense of the Rangers when arrested for cat-hauling the 
city Marshal heretofore referred to. Tom stood grim and silent 
until the cheering had subsided, when he deliberately smashed 
his bottle on the ground, tossed his glass to one side and swore 
he wouldn't drink to any d — d loco foco. Frank Pierce was 
President and Tom was a Whig. Not a word from that 
crowd of patriots ; all was dignifiedly silent, and Don George, 
without so much as a ripple on his serene countenance, 
requested the grand Marshal to dismiss the parade. Don 
George was greatly annoyed, as the sequel will show, although 



134 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

too well bred to notice the breach of patriotic good breeding at 
the time, but two years thereafter he played even on Tom, as 
I will yet inform the reader. After the dismissal of the grand 
parade as above stated, Captain Morton announced his vessel 
as ready to give such as felt so disposed a sea trip, while the 
writer accompanied Don Juan Sepulveda to Dead Man's 
Island, to fire a national salute. Don Juan in the exuberance 
of his patriotism, had unearthed a venerable field piece which 
had enjoyed the silence of the grave since it had fired its last 
shot in defense of Mexican Territory. Captain Sepulveda 
mustered and embarked his command on a large boat and 
proceeded up Wilmington Bay, where he embarked his 
artillery and sailed for Dead Man's Island, where, after infinite 
labor, he succeeded in mounting his battery on the highest point 
of the island, and all being ready, we let loose such a thunder as 
was never exceeded by one gun. It seemed that we would wake 
the seven sleeping heroes who so quietly reposed on the little 
barren rock. Don Juan said the firing would serve a triple 
purpose, it would dissipate the last vestige of unfriendly feel- 
ing that may have lingered in the bosoms of the sons of the 
country towards the United States ; that it would serve to 
express^our gratitude to the great founders of modern liberty ; 
and it would be an appropriate salute to the seven brave 
mariners who lost their lives in their country's service, and 
after the first salvo, and while paying our respects to our 
liquid ammunition, Don Juan proceeded to tell us how the 
seven sailors came to be killed. Their wooden head-boards 
stood in line in front of us. Said Don Juan : "El Comodoro 
(meaning Commodore Mervine, U. S. Navy), made his 
advance on Los Angeles. He made his first halt at Doniin- 
guez' Kanch, and camped for the night. In the morning he 
took up his line of march, with the Californian horsemen in 
front, flank, and rear. The Californians, poorly armed, mostly 
with lances, had an extravagant idea of Yankee prowess, and 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 135 

kept at a safe distance until the Commodore had reached a 
point near Compton, when we commenced to harass him. We 
had this same gun mounted on a Mexican carreta, and at the 
first discharge, shiver and down went one of the wheels, and 
the gun being practically dismounted, our General (Carrillo) 
ordered it to be abandoned, which was being done when one 
Higuera left the ranks of horsemen and swore that if the 
Yankees got the gun it would be over his dead body. With 
his own hand, unaided he loaded it just in time to let drive at 
the head of the Yankee column and killed seven men, a estos 
mismos" (these same). The heroism of Higuera so inspired the 
Californians that they rushed in and bodily dragged the gun 
away with their lazos, and then so vigorously assailed the 
invaders that they were forced to fall back, carrying these poor 
fellows with them, and were glad to get safely on board their 
marine fortress. • The old gun was subsequently buried near 
my house, and after a nap of six years, here it is, and here am 
I, and others who dragged it away at the time ; and here we 
are, all of us, the old gun, the old enemies, now friends ; and 
here is brave Higuera, firing a salute of honor over our former 
foes, who fell in battle. What do you say, boys ? Up, 
Higuera! "Viva Los Estados Unidos ! " "Viva Mexico Somos 
Amigos ! " 

The author feels great satisfaction in informing the reader 
that brave Higuera, a true hero, can be seen at any time on our 
streets, a quite old man, that one would not suspect of ever 
having had the courage, single-handed and alone, to face an 
army of gringos. Napoleon, for the act, would have conferred 
on him the "Cross of the Legion of Honor." 

# $$;:;$$ 

The music and festivities kept up all day, all night, and 
most of the day of the 5th ; but during that day, sleepy and 
worn out patriots wended their way to Los Angeles ; and so 
ended this grand and patriotic affair. 



136 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

About two years thereafter a convention met in Los Angeles 
to nominate county officers. Don George was a delegate, and 
Tom was a candidate for Sheriff. 

Tom met Don George with all the winning smiles of a can- 
didate, and said : " Don George, I am a candidate, as you are 
aware, and of course can count on your vote." 

" No, sir, you cannot," said Don George, emphatically. 

"Why, Don George, what can be the matter? I am aston- 
ished ; pray explain." 

" Well, Mr. Tom , I hope I may forever lose my rights 

as an American freeman when I give my vote to any man who 
would refuse to drink to the President of the United States on 

a Fourth of July. Good day, Mr. Tom ; I am not your 

man." 

One more anecdote of Tom. 

In 1856 Tom was a Deputy U. S. Marshal under 

McDuffie, and a crowd of Los Angeles men, including Tom, 
were the guests of old man Armstrong of the revered St. 
Nicholas at San Francisco. Tom broke his cane and gave it to 
an itinerant tinker to be fixed; the cane was duly fixed and 
returned but not paid for. The day following the tinker 
dunned Tom, in the presence of other gentlemen, for four bits, 
and for his audacity was knocked down by Tom with a chair. 
Tom was arrested and duly appeared before the Police Court 
for trial. When called up, Tom said: "Judge, is there any 
law against a United States Deputy Marshal knocking a Dutch- 
man down?" 

Now it so happened that the great Vigilance Committee was 
in session at San Francisco, and it still further happened that 
Old Coon was Police Judge, and Old Coon had an idea that a 
Dutchman had rights in this country that even a United States 
Marshal was under obligations to respect ; so Old Coon said, 

" Mr. Clerk, enter a fine of $20 against Mr. for contempt 

of Court." 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 137 

Said Tom : " Well, by Judge, that's kind of rough." 

" Enter a fine of $40 against Mr. for contempt of Court." 

"Well," said Tom, somewhat bewildered, ''Judge, how is 
this, I want to know? " 

" Mr. Clerk, enter a fine of $10 against Mr. . Now, 

Mr. what have you to say about this assault and battery?" 

" Guilty, sir, guilty," said Tom desperately, '" but may it 
please the Court, that is not law in Los Angeles." 

"Fine you $10, sir, and advise you to return to Los An- 
geles." 

A quarter of a century glided by and the author, in his pro- 
fessional capacity of attorney, had been employed to procure a 
United States patent to a Mexican grant belonging to many 
owners, all of whom agreed to contribute thwir pro rata of 
expense in the matter, except one, a tall, middle-aged 
Avoman, who maintained that she, for twenty-five years, had a 
patent to her part of the land in question. That an officer 
from Washington had personally placed it in her hand, and 
that it bore the great red seal of the Government. When this 
information was given, the lady informed the author that on a 
future visit she would show it to me and hoped I would be 
satisfied. After a while the fair possessor of the Government 
patent came into my office with "Ahora Veras," " Now, sir, 
see," and she drew forth from a bundle of faded calico a formi- 
dable looking document which, on inspection, proved to be a 
certified copy of a decree of divorce in Malcom vs. J\l«".lcom. 




138 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 




CHAPTER X. 

The Phantom, Spectre, or What is It? — Great Estampida — Excitement 
Among the Vaqueros — Bill Solves the Mystery — John T. Lanfranco's 
Pioneer Sulky — A Sharp Briar and Pious Fraud — A Sermon to the 
Rangers — A Large Collection— A Midnight Raid and Important Cap- 
ture — The Jackass Lawsuit — Drown and Thorn — An Irishman Can't 
Give Evidence in this Court — A Test of Blood. 



T THE time referred to in this chapter (July, 1853), 
the plains between Los Angeles and San Pedro pre- 
sented a lively spectacle, and the stranger' who made the 
short journey at his leisure was constantly interested, and 
always felt compensated. The vast herds of horses, and their 
number seemed absolutely without limit, the many pic- 
turesque horsemen driving the neighing and snorting herds in 
all directions, the retainers of the Lugos, the Dominguez, 
Avilas and Sepulvedas, the Stearns and Temples, all of whose 
herds ranged over the plains referred to, made quite an army, 
and from early dawn to the shades of evening were continually 
on the move, with their jingling spurs, cavorting steeds and 
whizzing riatas. 

A day or two after the grand Fourth of July celebration at 
San Pedro, described in the last chapter, there occurred a most 
wonderful and unaccountable stampede in those grand herds, 
the whole of which seemed to have lost their senses, and the 
equine paterfamilias seemed to have lost entire control over 
their unnumbered wives and sweethearts ; old mares in mad 
frenzy trampled under foot their tender and cherished off- 
spring ; the herds of Dominguez wildly mixed in with those of 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 139 

Sepulveda, the Lugos with the Avilas ; and so wild and unac- 
countable was the stampede that the old major domos, with 
their well-trained and disciplined underlings, utterly failed to 
subject to control the wild, frightened, terrified mustangs. Said 
one old lazador, " The devil surely has got among the man- 
adas," and he piously crossed himself. Along toward the 
afternoon of the day of the grand stampede, the major domo of 
old man Lugo, with the whole troop of vaqueros at his heels, 
rode wildly up to the ranch house, seemingly scared out of his 
wits, and said, in response to his angry master, the imperious 
Lugo's inquiry of " En el nombre de Dios, que hay ? " "A 
phantom ! a phantom ! " " El Diablo," said a vaquero, out of 
breath ; "LTna Espanta, muy grande," said another. And it 
required all of the authority of the astonished old master to 
learn from his much-trusted servant that an unaccountable 
something — a kind of a what-is-it — had appeared among the 
herds, and had caused the utmost demoralization, not only to 
the horses, but also to the vaqueros. 

Fortunately "Bill, the Patron Saint of Los Cuervos, or Bill 
the Most Remarkable," in memory of whom a whole chapter will 
be devoted in the future, was at the castle Lugo, and mount- 
ing the old Don's favorite charger, which, according to custom, 
was held in constant readiness for the master's use, set forth 
in quest of the phantom, espanta, or "what is it?" which 
had produced the unaccountable hubbub. Bill was not afraid 
of phantom, ghost or dragon dire, and like St. George, 
went forth to fight and conquer the monster in whatever shape 
he might present himself. The bravery of Bill so inspired 
the major-domos and vaqueros, that in a short space of time 
he had quite an army at his heels, and at sunset returned 
to the ranch leading as gay an old mustang as the reader can 
imagine, with the late John T. Lafranco's pioneer sulky in 
good order and condition, safe and sound, hitched to him. 
The jolly laugh of Bill, who had conquered, subdued 



140 REMINISCENCES OF JL RANGE K 

and captured the nondescript, explained everything. Lan- 
franco, returning from the Fourth of July festivities at San 
Pedro, landed on the roadside, and the gentle old mustang, 
whose forte had been for years to chase his fellows, feeling 
himself free, took to the herds as naturally as a duck to a 
mud-puddle ; the plains were level and smooth, the sulky kept 
its legs, so did the old horse, and the herds, frightened at 
the strange appearance, wildly ran away, and the old horse, 
equally astonished at such manifestation of unfriendliness, 
wildly followed from herd to herd, and caused the strange 
commotion as above stated. The " phantom tarantula" was 
the by-word and joke of the day for a long time thereafter. 

John T. Lanfrarico, an enterprising young merchant of Los 
Angeles, in all truth a fortunate fellow, was paying court to 
the beautiful Dofia Petra, daughter of Don Jose Sepulveda, del 
Rancho Palos Verdes, on San Pedro Bay. Notwithstanding 
he was a fine horseman, on one of his visits to San Francisco 
he espied the " phantom," and was so impressed with the ad- 
vantage its possession would give him, purchased and shipped 
it to Los Angeles, and, after an infinite amount of trouble, 
found au honest old mustang, who was induced to submit to 
this queer change in the programme of his usefulness, and per- 
mitted himself to be harnessed to the " phantom," and the 
happy possessor of this novel way of ambulation became the 
envied of all the fashionables of the city, gringo as well as to 
the manor born. Lanfranco married Dona Petra. " Tempus 
fugit ; " so says the old school-book, which reminds this happy 
historian that his experience extends somewhat into the, to 
some, dim past, yet, feeling all the bloom and flush of youth, 
looks back through those twenty-seven years as to a midsum- 
mer night's dream, shaded by the fleecy clouds of gently flitting 
time. But alas ! when he sees the children and grandchildren 
of John T. Lafranco and the beautiful Petra, he is forcibly re- 
minded of the text that "time flies," and has taken a very long 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 141 

flight since the "phantom" so frightened the herders and 
stampeded the herds on our sunny southern plains. 

Many, yes ! too many, of the promising incidents of those 
happy times terminated in unfortunate ways. Not so this 
marriage. Both husband and wife have passed hence to the 
spirit-land, leaving four daughters well provided for, the three 
eldest of whom have married — the first to Mr. W. S. Maxwell, 
"a native son of the Golden West," and the pioneer exporter 
of wheat from Los Angeles ; the second to "Walter S. Moore, 
Esq., Deputy Collector of Internal Revenue ; and the third to 
Mr. Samuel C. Cook, of New York, while the last is yet a 
schoolmiss. 

Alas ! alas ! the author, by the above, is sadly admonished 
that, when time shall have taken another such flight, if still an 
inhabitant of this land of magnificent promise, he will have 
become an old pioneer. 

Says the lamented Los Angeles centenial historian: "The 
first Methodist sermon was preached June, 1850, by Rev. J. W. 
Briar, at the adobe house of J. G. Nichols, where the Court House 
now stands." This pious historical fact reminds the truthful 
historian of a very sharp sermon preached by a divinely sharp 
practitioner in 1853. Judging from the prickly name of our 
pioneer preacher, we are free to surmise that his preaching must 
have been pointed and sharp. To say the least it was the 
entering wedge of that powerful politico -religious corporation, 
the great Methodist church that now wields so much influence 
among us wayward angels. 

In the summer of '53, on a Sunday forenoon, quite a number 
of Rangers were congregated at that old pioneer place of resort, 
the " Montgomery," engaged in slinging slings, sipping juleps, 
and rolling ten- pins, when a tall, lank, well dressed, reverend 
looking individual, with a stiff white necktie, a stiff stove-pipe 
plug, with long black hair parted in the middle, and reverendly 
combed and brushed back behind his ears. The reverend looking 



142 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

gentleman walked past the bar into the great ten-pin alley, and 
addressing the crowd said : "Gentlemen, pray don't allow me 
to' trespass upon your valuable time, but, after the game is 
concluded I have a request to make." So saying, he sat him- 
self down on the big redwood bench, so well remembered by 
the Montgomery's surviving patrons. The game at once 
stopped for the reason that the .strange appearance and the 
strange request of the stranger, at once excited general curiosity, 
and Getman requested the gentleman to proceed. The stranger, 
rising to his feet and divinely smiling, said: "Gentlemen, I 
have a favor to ask which I hope you will pardon, and at the 
same time grant. It is now five minutes past eleven. I was 
announced to preach in the Court House at eleven o'clock 
sharp. Punctual to the minute I was at my post, but not a 
soul confronted me to hear the word of God on this holy Sab- 
bath. Gentlemen, I came here to preach, and 1 am going to 
preach, even if to dumb adobe walls, for you know the old 
saying that ' walls have ears/ Now, gentlemen, I ask you to 
do me the favor to come in and hear me preach, if for only a 

half hour." 

« 

" Woo-wu-wi-will you st-sta-sta-nd the drinks if we do?" 
said stuttering Aleck, looking wistfully toward the bar room. 

" Silence," said Getman ; "no irreverent joking here. Come, 
boys, all of you take a drink, and let's go in and hear one up 
and down old fashioned sermon ; may be it will remind us of 
the old folks at home. I am going to close the house on this 
special occasion." 

One adobe wall separated the Montgomery from the Court 
House, and after having imbibed freely of fluid inspiration, 
one and all betook themselves to the rude temple of the law to 
drink in the promised words of holy inspiration so freely 
offered. When all were quietly seated, Getman, who as well 
as being proprietor of the Montgomery, was Lieutenant of the 
Hanger Company, suggested to the pious pioneer that if he 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 143 

would only postpone his services for half an hour, recruiting 
parties would be sent out to drum up a respectable congrega- 
tion. The proposition being acceded to, parties we're dis- 
patched, one to the Plaza de Toros, one to Nigger Alley, 
another to the Ranger Barracks, another to Aleck Gibson's, 
and one to drum around generally. Within the half hour the 
reverend stranger had a most rousing and interesting congrega- 
tion, composed almost exclusively of Bangers, sports and 
general hard cases, and divine services were commenced. The 
gifted divine preached from the text "Jesus wept," and well 
he might, says this righteous Ranger. The sermon was good, 
it was entertaining, argumentative and persuasive. The gist 
of the argument was that even angels wept at the general 
depravity of poor human nature, as seen at the profane Sab- 
bath exhibitions of bull and bear fights, maromas, Mexican 
circuses, horse racing and other kindred entertainments, which 
were the pride and glory of our angelic population at the time 
referred to. He eloquently exhorted us to abstain from ten- 
pins, mint juleps and gin slings on the holy Sabbath ; also to 
beware of billiards, to close the monte-banks, and fail to 
patronize on that day the iniquitous places of amusement 
above enumerated, for, said the holy man, "Jesus weeps at 
such unholy profanations." The eloquent gentlemen made us 
all feel kind of ashamed, for every one of us was guilty of 
some of the "unholy profanations," and when the service was 
concluded, Getman made a few remarks and solicited a contri- 
bution for the strange preacher, and took up a hat into which 
the ever generous Cy Lyon tossed a slug. The hat went 
around and the gold fell in plentiful profusion, one conscience 
smitten gambler, it was said, put in two slugs, and when the 
hat had concluded its grand rounds and the proceeds were 
handed over to the impressive preacher he had a stake that 
would have gladdened the heart of the most sanguine mis- 
sionary. The gentleman thanked the congregation for their 



144 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

noble generosity and said " the pious fund should be properly 
invested ; " said he " would visit San Diego and endeavor to 
return and preach on the following Sabbath/' pronounced his 
benediction, and the congregation dispersed. The week rolled 
around and many of us looked forward with no small degree of 
interest for the return of the strange and interesting mis- 
sionary, but he failed to connect, and another week or two 
rolled by, when it was ascertained that the miserable wolf in 
sheep's clothing, the vagabond who had assumed the livery of 
heaven to be used in the service of hell, was a notorious 
up-country gambler, who, coming among us terrestrial angels 
flat broke, had successfully played us for a stake, had invested 
the "pious fund" in aguardiente, red shirts and striped calico, 
and had gone to the Colorado to gamble and trade with the 
Indians. We were all utterly sold and swindled, and well did 
we merit the outrage, and for the following reason : About six 
months prior to the happening of the sad event just related, 
that eminent Christian and pioneer missionary, the Rev. Adam 
Bland, had flung his banner to the breeze and was then strug- 
gling like a hero to establish in an humble way the first 
Protestant church among us, and would have regarded as a 
great godsend the handsome sum thrown away on that itiner- 
ant vagabond. We deserved to be cheated, for the reason that 
we should have supported Mr. Bland and helped him along in 
the good cause in which he was so energetically engaged. 

" Reminiscences of a Ranger " suggests to the reader border 
warfare, bloody raids, reprisals and hand-to-hand conflicts, and 
all of the Bombastes Furioso paraphernalia of yellow-backed 
literature, so appetizing to the hoodlum element of our modern 
population ; and after the relation of one more pacific and legal 
exploit of the Rangers, the thirst of the impatient reader shall 
be appeased with blood. The author confesses that this his- 
tory so far has been more of lawsuits than of war. He has 
written of the great court-martial that tried and sentenced the 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 145 

City Marshal, He has told of the first divorce suit tried 'and 
determined in our pioneer courts, and of other suits. He wore 
out a brand new pen in giving to the world an unbiased and 
impartial history of the terrific struggle between those pioneer 
legal Titans, the immortal Juan Largo and the long since 
dead and forgotten Juan Chapo, for the possession of that his- 
torical old mustang, that was the stepping-stone to the down- 
ward career of the two litigants. The great Largo, in sheer 
desperation, threw himself into the mad maelstrom of politics, 
and was swallowed up in its hungry vortex. That great his- 
torical lawsuit and the loss of that $10 mustang so preyed 
upon the mind of the poor, .impecunious Chapo, that two years 
thereafter he was sent to the State Insane Asylum and died. 
That horrible legal battle ought to compensate the reader for 
oceans of blood. The gentle author could have told in the 
meantime of bloody broils, of assassinations without number, of 
travelers waylaid and murdered almost within hearing of the 
old plaza church bells. He could have written of men's ears 
cut off, strung on strings, and paraded as trophies in our halls 
and bar-rooms. He could have horrified the Christian reader 
by telling of men's heads severed from their bleeding trunks, 
and used as foot-balls 011 the public highways ; of women out- 
raged and murdered in our very streets ; and of untold horrors, 
which the writer hopes will remain untold on this earth for- 
ever. The writer abhors the recital of such bloody horrors, but 
he delights in taking the ludicrous side of the horrible history 
of pioneer times, and will proceed to relate the brief facts of 
another great legal conflict between the Ranger Company and 
a pioneer Irishman for the possession of an innocent old jack- 
ass, after which he will give the reader some blood. 

The Rangers went on a midnight secret raid about 
the month of August '53, of course, a strong impression 
prevailed that Joaquin was in the city. So it was arranged 

that the whole Ranger Company, mounted and on foot, 
10 



146 REMINISCENCES OF A BANGER. 

should make a midnight sally and search every suspicious 
house and place within the city limits. High expectations 
of success were entercained. At the hour of mid-night 
three parties on foot set forth to operate in Nigger Alley, 
Sonora and other inside places, while parties of horsemen 
made rapid raids on all the Jacals and vineyards, the 
suburbs and out of the way corners. The search was well 
conducted and thorough, but utterly without fruits, and at 
daylight all the Rangers had reported back to headquarters, 
crestfallen and disappointed, all without captures and trophies 
except that one party .brought in a forlorn-looking jackass that 
was promptly spouted in Nigger Alley for aguardiente, and 
became the prolific source of the remarkable lawsuit that is 
now the subject matter of history. On the day following, an 
Irishman discovered and laid claim to his ass-ship, which said 
claim was vigorously resisted by a ferocious looking Sonoreno 
who kept a cantina in Niggar Alley, and had advanced the 
liquid loan on the jackass security. That great and- humorous 
pioneer lawyer, General Ezra Drown, appeared for the defend- 
ant Mexican, who called in the festive Rangers to defend his 
right to the possession of the embargoed burro. I believe 
Cameron Thorn- represented the Irish plaintiff, and a native Cal- 
ifornian presided as Justice of the Peace. The Rangers chival- 
rously backed up the defendant, and threatening to maintain 
legal title to the bitter end, demanded a jury trial. All parties 
being present, including the Constable and jackass, and the 
jury being duly sworn to try the case and true verdict render 
according to law and evidence, the plaintiff Irishman was 
sworn and opened out, but before he could say jackass, defend- 
ant's attorney brought him up on a legal round turn, and 
asked him where he was born. He answered that he was born 
in County Downs, in the ancient and honorable kingdom of 
Ireland. Defendant's attorney then objected to the admission 
of the evidence on the ground that defendant was a citizen of 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 147 

the United States, and that the constitution of our great 
country precluded Irishmen from giving evidence against an 
American. It was very up-hill work in getting at justice in 
that Court for the reason that neither of the attorneys could 
speak a word of Spanish, and the Judge could not understand 
a word of English, and the two lawyers had to make their 
arguments and present their authorities through the medium 
of the "most useful man," who was the court interpreter on 
that great trial. The legal blows dealt and returned Avere 
ponderous. The authorities cited were voluminous and heavy ; 
how they were interpreted and presented to, or understood by 
the Court are to-day enveloped in the mists of mystery and 
sleep in the grave with the " most useful man." Suffice it to 
say, that after two days of Herculean legal conflict, the Court 
rendered its judicial fiat on the legal fate of the irate and game 
son of Erin by saying, " that he himself, the Court, had per- 
sonally read the great treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, and knew 
that by said treaty the defendant was a full-fledged American 
citizen, and as plaintiff's attorney had failed to present any 
manner of treaty whatever that made the same transformation 
for the Irishman the Court was reluctantly forced to the exclu- 
sion of the evidence offered," and so the Court ruled. The 
game Irishman, not in the least discomfited by being legally 
sent to grass, at the call of time came smiling to the scratch 
and presented two stalwart Californian boys to prove his legal 
ownership to the contested property. Defendant's attorney, 
fully alive to the great responsibility resting on his broad legal 
shoulders, dealt plaintiff a stunning blow by objecting to the 
proposed evidence on the ground that the witnesses were not 
white men, and that defendant being a white man, none but 
white men could testify against him. Plaintiff's counsel 
maintained that having assumed the affirmative the burden of 
proof rested on defendant to prove the witnesses not to be 
white men. Defendant's attorney accordingly produced as 



148 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

experts in physiology the three learned men of the city, 
Doctors Swim, Gardner and Hannum, who, after testifying to 
their scientific attainments, were asked if they could by any 
scientific physiological certainty, determine the line of demarka- 
tion between a person of pure white blood and a mongrel. 
Answering emphatically in the affirmative, they were required 
to examine the two witnesses and inform the Court if they 
were white men or mongrels. For the information of the 
reader of more modern importation it is proper to know that 
at that time California was an ultra white man's government. 
The learned trio conferred together for a minute, when Dr. 
Gardner came up to one of the witnesses and seizing him by 
the nose and chin, ordered him to open his mouth, the witness 
indignantly resented the familiarity and glared defiantly on the 
learned man in physiology, laid his hand threateningly on the 
knife that was so conveniently sheathed in his leathern legging, 
and said : "Que quierestu?" "(What do you want?) The 
learned man, somewhat taken aback at this unexpected opposi 
tioii to his scientific demonstration, called on counsel and Court 
for assistance and protection. The Court very sensibly inquired 
of the doctor the object of his unceremonious interference 
with the witness' legal right to protection from rude personal 
violence. Said the doctor, addressing himself to the inter- 
preter, " Inform his honor that I was about to demonstrate 
to the Court the difference in the six salivary glands of a 
white man and those of mixed blood. Say to the Court that 
in a white man the sub-maxillary gland, which is situated 
within the lower jaw anterior to the angle and which opens 
into the mouth by the side of the frrenum lingua 1 , and the 
lingual gland which is situated between the mucous membrane 
on each side of the frrenurn lingiue are elongated; in the mixed 
breed they are round." This scientific lecture being duly inter- 
preted to the Court, the Judge said, "No entiende," and 
looked worried. 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 149 

Defendant's attorney then inquired of the learned experts if 
there was no other way of determining to a scientific certainty 
the great question at issue, and the grave and reverend seignors 
again mysteriously consulted. Then Dr. Gardner answered 
and said. " Yes, certainly there is," seizing the upper and lower 
eyelid of the other witness and turning his eye-ball inside out, 
and was greatly astonished at the subject springing to his feet, 
with tears streaming from one eye and sparks of indignation 
flashing from the other, and yelling carajo ! The Court or- 
dered the interpreter to inquire of the learned physiologist 
what he meant by such unseemly conduct, and through the 
same channel of converse the doctor addressed himself to the 
Court. 

" Inform his honor that I was about to demonstrate that in 
a white man the two small orifices called punctalachrimalia, at 
their intersection with the nasal ducts, that is to say " — 

"I am afraid," said the defendant's attorney, "his honor will 
be unable to understand a scientific anatomical lecture through 
the medium of an interpreter. Is there no more practical man- 
ner of settling this question ? " 

" Oh, yes," responded the doctor, drawing from his pocket a 
formidable pair of old pullicans ; " you see, in the white man 
the wisdom teeth grow straight down into the body of the jaw, 
and have three strongly developed roots ; in the black or mixed 
breeds the wisdom teeth grow solidly and firmly into the 
ramus, and have but one root, and to settle this matter defi- 
nitely I will now proceed to extract a wisdom tooth," and the 
doctor returned to the charge, but the birds had flown. The 
prey had escaped, and from that day to this the author has 
never heard of any of our local courts settling that interesting 
question. The witnesses saved the Court the trouble of 
passing on their legal status by passing beyond the Court's 
jurisdiction. The game Irishman was knocked out of time, 
and having no bottle-holder, flung up the sponge, and the 



150 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

Custody of the jackass was legally awarded to the constitutional 
American citizen, who called on the Constable for the property. 
The Constable was found drunk at the Hanger barracks, and 
on the day following, the jackass was found in an up-town can- 
tina, where the Rangers had a second time spouted him for a 
liquid advance, and the Constable had fallen a victim to the 
speculation. Another suit followed, not less interesting than 
the first, and while that was in process of litigation the jackass 
was again abducted, and served to keep up steam at the Ranger 
barracks both night and day for over a fortnight. 

Reader, bear with me another law suit and then we will 
have reached our bloody chapter. B. Colin, a noted merchant, 
was at Ehrenburg, Arizona, and got into a law suit in a Jus- 
tice's Court. The Constable was a Mexican. Cohn had no 
lawyer, while his opponent was represented by the celebrated 
counsellor, Charles Granville Johnston, Esq., who mounted his 
legal high horse and was demolishing Cohn with quartz-crush- 
ing power. Cohn stepped outside the court-room door and 
beckoned the Constable to him, and slipping a coin in the ever 
open official palm said, " Do you see that fellow cutting up so 
there?" "SiSefior, como no?" (and why not), answered the 
Constable. "Weil," said Cohn, "I want you to take that 
fellow to the lock up." " Da me im papel pues;" (give me a 
paper), said the Constable, and B. Cohn stepped inside the 
court room for a moment and returned with one of his printed bill 
headings and gave it to the Constable, who said "Esta bueno." 
Then the Constable invited the counsellor outside of the court 
room and called a couple of stalwart Sonoreflos and informed 
them that he had a heavy and refractory prisoner to carry 
to the calaboose, and desired their assistance, and the three 
piled in on poor Johnston and yanked him off to jail so 
fast that he hardly knew how he got there, and long before he 
regained his liberty Cohn had vanquished his opponent and 
won his suit. 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 151 



CHAPTER XL 

A Bleody Chapter — Murderers and Bandits Flee From San Luis Obispo — 
The Rangers Capture the Whole Band After a Sharp Skirmish in 
Bliss' Vineyard — A F*emale Fighter — All Taken to San Luis Obispo 
and Hung — The Murder of Porter and Pursuit of Vergara — Stanley, 
Banning and Winston— A Ride for Life— Hand to Hand Fight — 
Vergara Escapes, Reaches Yuma and is Killed by the Guard — Don 
Santiago Arguello — Major Heintzelrnan. 




chapter is to be a bloody one. Contrary to th 
natural instincts of the chronicler, the truth of his- 
tory demands that once more he is to draw the 
attention of the gentle and refined reader from ludicrous legal 
exploits of pioneer lawyers, to a bloody relation of murder, 
rapine, treachery, midnight robbery and assassinations most 
bloody. 

In September, 1853, the country in the southern mines 
became too hot for many of the bad characters who had 
operated under the famous Joaquin, and small bands would 
fly from the central organization and drift southward, signal- 
izing their passage by deeds of blood and pillage, and woe be 
to the unfortunate gringo who fell in their way. Cattle buyers 
on their way south in parties of one, two or more, were 
invariably met and murdered by these fleeing bandits. One 
party of seven, including one woman, whose name I knew, 
but forget, murdered a party of Americans somewhere not far 
above San Luis Obispo, after which they halted long enough 
in the town to dispose of some of the effects of the murdered 
party and then continued their march southward. But few 
Americans then resided in San Luis Obispo, and the Sheriff 



152 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

feeling too weak for successful pursuit took passage on the 
steamer bound south, landed at San Pedro and arrived in 
Los Angeles late on a Saturday evening, and at once made 
known the object of his visit to Captain Hope, of the Rangers, 
whose name and the fame of whose company had become a 
household word with all the American settlers in the counties 
south of Monterey, and a like terror to the bandits. Detec- 
tives (and we had detectives, and money with which to pay 
them) were sent out to inquire if suck a party had as yet 
made its appearance in the city, and at noon on Sunday it 
was ascertained beyond a doubt that the identical party was 
then encamped under the sombre shades of a great willow 
hedge in the rear of Mr. Rowland's (now Bliss') vineyard. 
That they were on the qui vive was a matter of certainty, for, 
said the informer, "The horses are all saddled, and the men 
booted and spurred." Our captain accordingly made his 
dispositions to successfully bag his game. 

The first move was to send a party by way of Old Aliso 
street to Boyle Heights, there to lay in wait, anticipating that 
if the party escaped from the vineyard they would flee in that 
direction. Smaller parties were then sent down San Pedro 
street and came up in the rear of the villains, and were to be 
given sufficient time to get into position before the main move 
was made directly from the barracks to the robbei camp, under- 
the captain himself. At the appointed time the captain moved 
quietly down Alameda street and into Rowland's vineyard, and 
by the time we had well passed the house we heard the clatter 
of fleeing horsemen through the cornfield, inside the willow 
hedge. We had started the game, and one long, blast of the 
bugle notified the watchers on' Boyle Heights and the parties 
in waiting on the south to look out for the enemy, and the pur- 
suit commenced. Did the reader ever engage in a cavalry skir- 
mish in a cornfield ? If not, he has failed to participate in one 
of the most exciting pleasures that it is possible to conceive ; 



REMINISCENCES OF A BANGER. 153' 

as the girls say about dancing, " it is perfectly splendid." In 
a few moments the pop, pop, pop, of the revolver, the answer- 
ing yell and hurrah of the intercepting Rangers, the defiant 
carajo of the robbers, and the crashing of the breaking corn- 
stalks, admonished the captain that the game had become 
interesting, and in a moment he was among them. In less 
than five minutes you could hear the pop of the revolver, the 
yell and carajo, in every direction for a half mile or more away. 
The thieves having broken and scattered, nothing could be 
seen. The corn, the hedges, the vineyard and trees, would oc- 
casionally and momentarily reveal a flying and pursuing horse- 
man. The Rangers separated, each bent on securing his man, 
and the chase became intensely exciting. More corn was 
trampled down, more grapes destroyed, in the skirmish and 
pursuit, the writer ventures to say, than were ever paid for. 
By sunset the Ranger company had reported back to head- 
quarters, and the whole party of robbers, horses, bag and! 
baggage, were our prisoners, and were duly placed under guard, 
including as pretty a little brunette woman as ever excited the 
lustful desires of a Mormon missionary, and, strange to say y 
the latter was the last to surrender, used her revolver like a 
trooper, and was the only one that escaped to Boyle Eights,, 
which she did, and fell unexpectedly into the arms of the dis- 
appointed Rangers who were there in anxious waiting. The 1 
seven who appeared at San Luis Obispo had increased to ten,, 
not counting the womau. 

On Monday morning rumors of lynching began to circulate,, 
and by noon it became quite evident that unless the robbers were 
protected by the Rangers their doom was certain. The United 
States District Attorney, however, went among the lynchers, 
and represented to them that the people of San Luis Obispo 
had the best right to administer justice in this instance, and it 
* would not be neighborly courtesy for us to intervene in so deli- 
cate a matter, and that "it was not our hang," and Captain 



154 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

Hope'informed them that the Rangers would deliver the prison- 
ers to the Sheriff of San Luis Ohispo on board the up-bound 
steamer, and would furnish him a guard, if necessary, on the 
passage up. On this emphatic assurance the lynchers subsided, 
the prisoners, including the amorous-looking little brunette, 
were safely delivered on board Haley's little steamer, were so 
securely ironed as to obviate the necessity for a guard, and 
arrived at the landing of San Luis Obispo. The town being 
seven miles from the landing, the Sheriff sent out for a guard 
to safely escort his prisoners to town, and the steamer waited. 
Haley was the most accommodating captain that ever ran on 
this coast, and somewhat more will be said in due time of this 
gallant old salt, who has so gracefully converted his old marine 
charts into legal parchment. 

With the least possible delay, a detachment of citizens came 
down to assist in safely landing the chained bandits, and then 
safely escorted them to the first tree that presented itself on 
the bleak, treeless plain, and in the most gentle but positive 
manner possible proceeded to string up the whole party, includ- 
ing that game little vixen aforesaid — that frail, gentle looking 
brunette — and so endeth the first act in this bloody chapter. 

About the same time an American cattle buyer named 
Porter, while coming from the Dominguez ranch to the city, 
was murdered and robbed in the outskirts, on Alameda street, 
by a man who had accompanied him in the capacity of servant 
and interpreter. The writer, on his way from San Pedro to 
Los Angeles, was informed at the Dominguez place that the 
American and his servant had just left for the city, and rode 
hard to come up with them, for the sake of company, but took 
the road that came in by way of San Pedro street. Dr. Wilson 
Jones, riding in from the Lugo's at about an hour before sun- 
down, came on the murdered man, dead and bleeding, in the 
middle of the road, and rode rapidly to town to give the alarm. 
Ranger parties were at once sent out in all directions, although 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 155 

it seemed most certain that the assassin would go toward San 
Diego. Accordingly a well -mounted party, under Lieutenant 
Stanley, took the road in that direction. Stanley always was a 
hard rider, and I presume that, notwithstanding the silver 
threads of time that now besprinkle the head of the gallant old 
Ranger, denoting the approach of an honorable old age, 
Stanley, if called on by duty or necessity, could make the same 
ride again. Phineas Banning, always ready to ride with the 
Bangers as well as to supply them with means, and Dr. Win- 
ston, then more of a light weight than at present, were of the 
party, and I believe the two Marshall boys were also along. 
The party rode all night, and ate a hasty breakfast at San 
Juan Capistrano, where they learned that the fugitive mur- 
derer was only a half hour ahead of them when they entered 
the little mission town. In the meantime it had been ascer- 
tained in the city that the murderer was one Manuel Vergara, 
a most notorious up-country assassin and robber, who had in 
some way ingratiated himself into the confidence of Mr. Porter, 
and in riding into town as above described had, from behind, 
shot him through the head, and robbed him of a considerable 
amount that he carried with him to pay on any purchases of 
cattle he might make. Lieutenant Stanley, who had intended 

* f 

procuring fresh horses, at once mounted his men, and driv- 
ing their spurs in the bleeding flanks of their highly-groomed 
and well-fed, choice mustangs, without the loss of a minute 
dashed out of the village in hot and eager pursuit. 

The fugitive was now an hour ahead of his pursuers, and the 
great fear of the Rangers was that he would procure a fresh 
horse, and gain this great advantage, otherwise they felt confi- 
dent in their ability to overtake him. The Rangers had the 
best horses the country afforded ; they were well-fed, groomed 
and exercised every day, and were in good keeping to be pushed 
to the utmost endurance of a California mustang, and it is con- 
ceded that a well-kept California horse will endure the most 



156 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

incredibly hard rides. The Rangers pushed on, and as they 
came in sight of the Mission of San Luis Key they were glad- 
dened by the sight of a horseman riding rapidly away. Then 
commenced the race for life. The fugitive was a'mile ahead of 
Stanley's party, and, finding himself pursued, made every effort 
to gain on his pursuers. But the Rangers gained on him ; 
every mile reduced the distance, and five miles from the Mis- 
sion the Rangers, sometimes one ahead, sometimes another, 
commenced to fire on him with their revolvers, and at every 
shot the desperate scoundrel would howl back his defiant 
carajo, and so the chase continued for another five miles, when 
one by one the Rangers' horses commenced dropping behind, 
and the murderer's horse seemed as fresh as ever. The dis- 
tance passed over in that flight and pursuit was full one hun- 
dred miles, and the writer would shrink from the relation of 
such a personal exploit, but not being of that party he declares 
the truth of what he writes. One Ranger's horse, however, 
continued to gain on the fugitive, and soon the two were far 
ahead of the other Rangers. Whether it was Stanley or one of 
the Marshall boys, or Banning, who continued to gain on the 
fleeing murderer, the writer^ is not sure, but is under the im- 
pression that it was Green Marshall. Finally the pursuing 
Ranger came so close up'to the pursued, that he turned in his 
saddle and commenced to fire back at the Ranger. And thus 
the race continued until both had fired their last shot without 
effect. And let the reader be informed that men so blown and 
excited, so worn out and unsteady, are apt, under such circum- 
stances, to shoot wide of the mark. The Ranger continued to 
gain on the fugitive until the two were brought side by side, 
and commenced striking at each other with their empty revol- 
vers. Their horses were staggering and reeling, and about to 
fall exhausted on the plain. 

The Ranger, out of breath, demanded the surrender of the 
fugitive, who, with glaring eyeballs and bated breath, hissed 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 157 

defiance through his closely set teeth. At last the Ranger 
seized the rein of the fugitive's bridle, and while holding on with 
one hand he tried to beat him down with his revolver in the 
other. Vergara was a full match for his antagonist, and suc- 
ceeded in drawing his bowie, and in making his first cut at the 
Ranger cut his own bridle rein, which freeing his horse from 
the hold of the Ranger, who in the conflict had dropped his 
own rein, the two became in a moment separated. Ver- 
gara drove his spurs into his horse and he shot ahead like a 
bomb-shell, the Ranger's horse veered off to one side, and in a 
harsh endeavor to bring him up, he reeled, fell and lay 
exhausted on the plain. Vergara, with a triumphant shout, 
pressed forward, and when the fagged out Rangers, who had 
been left behind, came up, the fugitive murderer had passed 
out of sight and escaped. Being unable to procure fresh 
horses for the pursuit the disappointed Rangers, utterly fagged 
out, exhausted, on foot, leading and urging on their broken 
steeds, managed to reach San Diego and laid the matter of 
their pursuit before that sterling old patriot, Don Santiago 
Arguello, who procured an Indian and paid him a large sum 
to carry a dispatch to the commanding officer at Yuma, and to 
double the amount if he should reach there ahead of Vergara, 
surmising correctly that the fugitive would make his way to 
that place. Procuring a fresh horse Vergara pushed on to 
Fort Yuma, where he camped on the edge of the river, just 
below the ferry. Major Heintzelman, who commanded at 
Yuma, had in the meantime received Don Santiago's dispatch, 
the Indian having successfully accomplished his mission, sent a 
Sergeant and file of soldiers down to bring the suspicious look- 
ing Mexican to headquarters. Vergara refused to go, drew his 
revolver on the Sergeant, and was shot dead by the soldiers. 



158 RKMINTSCENCES OF A RANGER. 




CHAPTER XII. 

The Murtlcr of Jack Whaling — An Array of Fair and Frail" Sisters— More- 
no's Band— Robbery of Lelong's House — Moreno Kills His Comrades 
for Blood Money — Capture of Moreno — The Whole City on Guard — Solo- 
mon Lazard's Bravery — Mayor Nichol's Message to the Council — All is 
Mystery. 



the Rangers were yet in pursuit of Vergara, 
old Jack Whaling, a brave, honest Irishman who 
had succeeded the Arkansas man as City Marshal, 
was assassinated boldly and publicly, in open daylight, on a 
corner of our most public street. His assassin, by name 
Senati, wiped the blood of the victim from his knife, gave 
expression to some fierce maledictions against the hated gringos, 
quietly mounted his horse and rode away. The town was 
thrown into an intense excitement, a meeting was held, a com- 
mittee of safety was appointed, and it was resolved to purify 
the city and banish all the bad characters. Then, after a 
reconsideration of the subject in secret conclave by the com- 
mittee, it was agreed that the step resolved upon would be 
dangerous, for the reason that the bad characters were evidently 
in the majority, and might turn out and banish the committee 
and their backers. The Rangers were all out, and the utmost 
alarm pervaded the civil part of the community. And now a 
digression is proposed, and the reader — especially the mercantile 
reader — is informed that the first commercial failure in Los 
Angeles was that of a Mexican merchant, Atanacio Moreno, 
who failed about August, '53, and not only disappeared from 
commercial circles, but also from the city. Moreno was a tall, 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 159 

straight, fine appearing white man, belonged to the best blood 
of Sonora, and up to the time of his disappearance stood well 
in society, and was highly respected. Every few days after the 
murder of Whaling, a robbery, or a murder, or some other 
outrage would be reported from some part of the county. The 
Rangers were kept busy but failed to make any important 
discoveries or captures. Sometimes they would be sent to the 
Soledad Canon, or the Santa Clara Valley ; sometimes to San 
Juan Capistrano and around the country generally, following 
the Will-o'-the-wisp of some false alarm without any important 
result. In the meantime, news came of the killing of Joaquin, 
and the dispersal of his band in Monterey county, and that the 
frightened bandits were making their way southward. The 
excitement and alarm was fearful, the city was actually in a 
state of seige, business was at a standstill, and so October 
passed and November set in. 

And now for another digression. In the month of Novem- 
ber the steamer brought a small army of fair and frail sisters 
from San Francisco, the pioneers of the foreign element in the 
propagation of the social evil in our'angelic and highly refined 
civilization. "We had thieves and cut-throats of all nations 
under the sun, but up to November, '53, the monde and the 
demi-monde was represented by ladies to the manor born. 
The frail pioneers established themselves in a large house on 
Upper Main street, and made their debut by giving a grand 
opening ball, to which they invited all the principal gam- 
blers of the city, and on the night of the brilliant affair, when 
dancing and drinking had grown to a fever heat, when mad 
revelry had run riot, a loud knock demanded admittance to the 
ball-room. On the door being opened a dozen Mexican 
bandits, armed to the teeth, marched boldly into the room and 
covered the astonished revelers with their revolvers and car- 
bines. The leader was masked and spoke English. He 
informed the gamblers that the house was surrounded by a 



160 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

hundred armed men, and if they offered the least resistance 
they would be murdered without mercy, but if they submitted 
quietly they would be spared. The robbers, for such they 
were, then went through and plundered the house, finding most 
of the gambler's overcoats and revolvers in the adjoining wine- 
room. After which they passed the gamblers out of the ball- 
room into the wine-room, searching and robbing them one by 
one until the last man was fleeced, when they proceeded to 
search and rob the frail sisters, stripping them of their valuable 
jewelry and money. They then bade the household " buenas 
noches," mounted their horses and rode away. 

The robbers betook themselves to the vineyard of a well-to- 
do Frenchman, who dwelt in that old-fashioned adobe house 
that now stands on the south side of New Aliso street, just be- 
yond the venerable old Aliso tree, under the sombre shades of 
which the thieves halted and dismounted, and one part of the 
band holding the horses, the others entered the house, and 
after binding the owner, proceeded to search the house for 
money and valuables. By dint of rifling drawers and trunks, 
and by threats, they succeeded in obtaining a considerable 
amount of coin and valuable jewelry, among which was a valu- 
able gold watch. They then perpetrated the last outrage on 
the poor wife of the Frenchman, and being now near on to 
daylight, they mounted and left the slumbering city. 

The audacity of this exploit, the mysterious coming and de- 
parture of a band so formidable, and handled with such mili- 
tary discipline, the finesse and sang-froid with which they 
robbed the gamblers, who greatly magnified their number and 
formidable appearance, whence they came and whither they 
went, the dark mystery surrounding the adventure, led one to 
inquire of another, " Well, what next ? " Alarm was changed 
into consternation, and general gloom and terror pervaded the 
gringo part of the population, especially those who owned stores 
.and merchandise. The writer uses the- convenient phrase 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 161 

"gringo" to signify the whole population except the Spaniards. 
The gringos at once assumed a bellicose attitude. All citizens 
were under arms. The Rangers were constantly in the saddle, 
and well does the writer remember the warlike appearance of 
Mayor Nichols and Solomon Lazard, as on a stormy night the 
two heroes, muffled in storm and rain-protecting blankets, 
weighed down with side-arms, and each with a double-barreled 
shot-gun carried at a " secure arms " to protect them from the 
pelting rain, marching to their respective stations on the hills 
west of the city to do picket duty ; and how a cordon of armed 
citizens guarded every approach to the angelic stronghold ; how 
the heroic and vigilant Lazard shot a brave old bull, who came 
lost and straggling into town on that eventful night ; how the 
Rangers, in detachments, went into the country on the same 
rainy night ; and how, to the utter surprise of the whole city, 
especially the Spanish part of the population, the robbers en- 
tered the city, raided Sonora, sacked several Spanish houses, 
and carried oft' forcibly several girls. Whence they came and 
whither they went was veiled in the mists of mystery. 

When Mayor Nichols was on his picket post the City 
Council sent the Marshal to bring him to the council rooms, 
where they were discussing measures of general defense and 
required his counsel and advice. "I will send them a mes- 
sage," said the Mayor, " and will send it verbally. Tell the 
honorables that the most proper measures for the defense of 
this city, would be for them to join the Rangers as volunteers 
or shoulder a shotgun and close the municipal shop for the 
present." 

This raid on Sonora occurred about a week after the foray 
made on the gamblers and Frenchman. The angels became 
nervous, excited, feverish and impatient ; a spirit of disap- 
pointment fell upon the Ranger company, constantly kept going 
on false information, always to be disappointed. They would 

occasionally jump an armed horseman who was so wary and 
11 



162 REMINISCENCES OF A HANGER 

skillful in his manoeuvers that not a single capture was made. 
That a formidable band of robbers were within easy striking 
distance of the city was a conceded fact. Where they were, 
none could tell. Wild and magnified rumors and reports 
of murders here, robberies and outrages there, were spread, 
with still wilder rumors of a Mexican invasion and expulsion 
of the gringos, all of which time the bandits were encamped 
within ten miles of the city. 

How the spirit of cupidity gave birth to dark and bloody 
treason, and how the leaders of the robber band were murdered 
in cold blood, will now be in order. 

When Senati murdered the Marshal, the Sheriff offered a 
reward of $1,500 for his arrest and delivery, dead or alive. 
Two months had elapsed and no account of the fugitive 
assassin. One rainy morning in December, when the excite- 
ment raged fearfully and anxiety became unbearable, the news 
spread like wildfire that the jail yard was full of dead robbers, 
among whom was Senati. A general rush was made for the 
jail, where in the yard in front of the jail door was found a 
Mexican cart, with the gory corpses of five bandits lying piled 
one on top of another, stiff and stark, exposed to the driving 
rain and presenting all of the horrible contortions in form and 
feature of men who died in fear and agony. An Indian boy 
drove the cart to town, arriving between midnight and day- 
light. The cart was guarded and escorted by a solitary horse- 
man, and that horseman was Atanacio Moreno, the broken 
merchant ; and this is the report he made to the Sheriff. He 
said that about a month previous he was taken prisoner by the 
bandits, who, supposing he had means, demanded a ransom, 
kept him a close prisoner, and threatened to shoot him unless 
the ransom was paid ; that he watched and waited for an 
opportunity to escape ; that Luis Vulvia, who had been 
Joaquin's Lieutenant, was Captain of the band, and Senati 
was Lieutenant. Moreno further said that his capture was 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 163 

subsequent to Senati's assassination of the Marshal, and he 
knew of the price set on his head by the Sheriff, and in sheer 
desperation he determined not only to escape, but to carry 
Senati's head with him as a trophy. With this determination 
he watched and waited for a favorable opportunity, which 
never came. Growing impatient and still more desperate, the 
band having gone on a foray and he being left alone with 
Senati and two guards, by stratagem he succeeded in obtaining 
possession of their arms, and killed, first Senati, then the two 
others. That the Captain, Vulvia, at this critical juncture 
unexpectedly returned to camp, and by a stroke of good man- 
agement was also slaughtered, with his attendant, by the brave 
Moreno. This all occurred in one of the caiions in the rear of 
the Brea Rancho, and after his brilliant exploit the freed and 
exultant Moreno accidentally encountered the Indian boy with 
the ox cart, pressed him into service, drove to the robber camp 
in the canon, loaded on the slaughtered bandits, drove to town 
as above stated, and now demanded the $1,500 from the 
Sheriff in conformity with his offer. Moreno was a hero. 

In less than two hours the Sheriff had raised the money and 
paid it over. The town took a long breath of relief. The great 
agony was over, business began to resume its sway, and the 
excitement somewhat abated. About a week or two thereafter, 
Charlie Ducommun came, out of breath, through the back way 
into the drug store, at the corner of Commercial and Los Ange- 
les streets, where he found Captain Hope and two Rangers. 
Hope understood that some one was robbing Charlie's crib, and 
biding him return quietly by the way he came, Hope, with his 
two Rangers, hastily proceeded up Commercial street. A horse 
was seen standing in front of Charlie's shop with the rope lead- 
ing inside, which showed that a man was inside holding the 
rope. Arriving at the door, the man inside went for his 
revolver, but before he could draw he was seized, and after a 
desperate resistance was overpowered, and, to the surprise 



164 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

of all, he proved to be the hero Moreno. Then Ducommon 
explained that the prisoner offered to pawn the valuable gold 
watch stolen from the house of the Frenchman before referred 
to; that he at once recognized the watch, and pretending to go 
into his back room for money, had ran to the drug store and 
given information. Moreno was indicted, tried, convicted and 
sentenced to fourteen years in the penitentiary for the robbery 
of the Frenchman's house, lie then confessed that he himself 
had been the captain of the robber band, and that Vulvia and 
Senati were his Lieutenants, that he was the commander of the 
robbers when the*y went through the gamblers and frail dames, 
and at the outrage at the Frenchman's ; that, tempted by 
cupidity he had slain Senati, to effect which he sent the 
band out on service, retaining Senati in camp with three pickets 
posted on the mountain sides. The two being alone he killed 
Senati with a rear thrust with a sabre, and to his surprise 
Vulvia returned to camp and was treacherously shot down by 
his captain. The three pickets hearing the shot in camp, came 
in and were treacherously murdered in detail. The ox cart 
was procured as above stated, and the dead robbers brought to 
town. After being about a year in prison, Moreno and the 
veteran San Francisco forger, old Captain Tuft, attempted to 
gf-t up an insurrection, disgracefully failed, and were severely 
punished. He was, after about four years' service, pardoned by 
the Governor, and was taken to Sonora by his friends ; returned 
again to Los Angeles ; recommenced his old tricks and was 
again sent up, and again pardoned in 1867, which is the last 
the writer knows of Moreno. 




REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. ' 165 




CHAPTER XIII. 

The Post of Jurupa — Captain Lovell — Military Discipline — A Gay and 
Festive Quartermaster — Smith — Attempted Robbery of Mrs. Iverson's 
House at San Gabriel — Robber Camp at Ternescal— The Rangers, 
Regulars and Mormon Contingent Make a Night March on Their 
Camp — Escape — On to San Juan Capistrano — Juan Forster — Juan 
Avila el Rico. 

" Time at last sets all things even," 

SERE was but one military post within the limits of 
Los Angeles county at the time referred to in the pre- 
vious chapters, and the domain of Los Angeles was 
then very great, including San Bernardino and the greater part 
of Kern counties, as heretofore stated. The post of Jurupa 
was established, I believe, in 1850, and was continued until 
1857. Fort Tejon was not established until 1854. Jurupa, 
being an infantry post, could lend little or no assistance in 
breaking up the robber bands that so occupied the Ranger 
company and kept them so constantly going. Captain 
Lovell commanded at Jurupa — a sedate, methodical, sober 
kind of an officer, who seemed perfectly content to sit in 
his elegant quarters, issue orders to his little army of a dozen 
or so of well-fed, clean-shaved, white-cottou-gloved, nicely- 
dressed, lazy, fat fellows, who were seemingly happy and con- 
tent on their $8 per month, while even a Digger Indian would 
naturally expect to earn even more than that sum in a day in 
the mines. They all, from Captain to Corporal, seemed re- 
signed to a life of well-fed indolence. 

Captain Lovell was sedate and sober, and comported him- 
self with as much military decorum as Though on duty at 



166 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

the War Department, and under the immediate eye of his 
illustrious commander, the lordly conqueror of the mighty 
Aztec capital. Captain Lovell exacted from his subalterns the 
utmost military punctilio, and ruled the military roost at 
Jurupa with all the rigor of a martinet. Every military collar 
at Jurupa must stand with the most mathematical upright- 
ness ; every military button, every military brogan, and every 
military tin cup, must be burnished daily in such brilliant 
style, so as to serve, if so required, as a mirror or shaving-glass. 
Quarters were daily inspected, and the whole camp subjected to 
the most rigorous military police. Kitchen, mess pans and 
camp kettles would receive the most critical attention from this 
model commander, whose daily custom was to visit the military 
kitchen and rub the kettles, plates and pans with his immacu- 
late white handkerchief, and woe be to the delinquent cook if 
the perfumed linen should be soiled or smutted by its contact 
with his kitchen kit. 

Lovell had one officer, however, whom he could in no way 
manage. Military discipline was not the forte of this officer, 
and although Lovell tried every means from commands to 
court-martials, Smith (such was the Lieutenant's name) was 
utterly incorrigible. Smith was so hard a nut that even 
Lovell couldn't crack him. Smith would consent to the 
wearing of a military jacket, but Mexican calzoneros, Mexican 
buckskin leggings of the most approved style and finish, Mexi- 
can jingling spurs with six-inch rowels, Mexican sash, Mexican 
hat, Mexican horse, saddle and bridle, and a brilliant Mexican 
blanket, a navy revolver belted to his side, and an elegant 
bowie neatly sheathed in his Mexican bota, went to make up 
the personal trappings of the gay, festive and roystering Quar- 
termaster of Fort Jurupa, a boon companion of the gifted 
Myron Norton. Smith, with all his fondness for gay Mexican 
trappings, was also inordinately fond of Mexican women. 
" Wine and women " didn't begin to express the festive char- 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. -167 

acter of this gay son of Mars, who would start from Jurupa at 
sunrise and ride to Los Angeles, fifty miles, for breakfast, and 
empty two military canteens of double-proof Mexican aguar- 
diente on the way, and then drink two bottles of first-class 
California wine at the breakfast table, which he was wont to 
designate as an appetizer to prepare him for drinking with his 
friends until dinner time, when he would do his principal 
drinking. Smith's fondness for women got him into serious 
difficulty with Lovell more than once, and one time in particu- 
lar, he was restrained of his liberty and ordered to remain 
within the limits of his own quarters. A court-martial could 
not be convened and the District Commander, John B. Magru- 
der, was appealed to by Lovell. The Colonel came to Jurupa 
and made himself the guest of the bejugged Quartermaster for 
about a week, during which time Magruder waived rank and 
he and Smith made night melodious with their roysterings. 
On taking his departure the District Commander released Smith 
from durance, which was the last time Lovell attempted his 
reformation. 

Smith was very fond of the Rangers, and always, when 
opportunity offered, would accompany them on their expeditions. 
When he came to town he was the more than welcome guest of 
the company, who would lavish all their generosity on both 
master and horse, and the generosity of the Jurupa Quarter- 
master to the Eangers was without limit. If there were any 
extra rations, extra blankets, or other kinds of military stores 
at the post, they would be hoarded with miserly care for 
gratuitous distribution among the Rangers when opportunity 
offered. Smith was the prince of good fellows and the son of a 
Governor. 

Smith entered the army as a private soldier during the war 
with Mexico, and for personal gallantry, and not through 
political influence, at the end of the war was promoted to a 



168 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

Lieutenancy in the 2nd Infantry. His father was Governor of 
Virginia, and was known as "Extra Billy." 

During the hot times described in the bloody chapter, thr 
robbers made a raid on the Mission San Gabriel, and among 
other outrages attempted the robbery of Mr. Iverson's house 
were gallantly repulsed and driven away by Evert, a boy of 
fourteen years. The robbers went toward the upper Santa Ana. 
and " Don Julian del Chino" (Isaac Williams) sent a trust- 
worthy Indian to inform Captain Hope that a large force were 
in rendezvous at Temescal. Hope accordingly made his dispo- 
sitions not to disperse, but to bag the thieves in their camp. 
An express was accordingly sent to J urupa asking the assistance 
and co-operation of Captain Lovell, as also that of the Mormon 
authorities at San Bernardino, who were requested to rendez- 
vous at Jurupa at night, with such auxilary force as they might 
be able to furnish. Fort Jurupa was ten miles below San 
Bernardino on the Santa Ana river, and the robbers, camp at 
Temescal was only about twelve miles from Jurupa. 

The Rangers arrived at the Fort at ten o'clock at night, 
having left Los Angeles late in the afternoon, so as to make the 
latter part of the march under cover of darkness, and not be 
seen by the vigilant bandits. At the Fort we found the gallant 
Smith in all his glory, with half the garrison mounted on wagon 
mules, and ready to move. A. half hour later, Cliff, the Mor- 
mon Sheriff, reported with a splendid company of mounted 
Mormons, and at midnight, under the guidance of the Indians 
sent by Colonel Williams, of Chino, we moved rapidly on the 
robber ci'.mp. The night was clear and calm, the moon shone 
brightly, and the burnished muskets of the soldiers, flashed 
warning signals as they gleamed and glittored in the moon- 
beams. The road was hard and rocky, the sharp clatter of our 
well shod mustangs, and the heavy tread of the wagon mules, 
assured us that only by a rapid and direct movement could we 
expect to surprise the robbers. 



REMINISCENCES OF A 'RANGER. 169 

The camp was located in the valley just above the Temescal 
hot springs. Entering the valley we went on a full charge up 
the road, leaving Smith's mounted infantry, hut not Smith, far 
in the rear, and turning a bend in the road just below the hot 
springs, we came in sight of the burning camp fires. The 
game had escaped. The bandits decamped, and when quiet 
and silence had been restored, we could hear their retreating 
clatter as they went up Cold water canon. Pursuit was 
impossible at night, owing to the roughness of the mountain 
and mountain gorge in which the robbers had taken refuge. 
We accordingly made our camp, fed our mustangs from the 
wallets of barley furnished by the provident Smith, arid while 
some boiled coffee in their tin-cups, others, fatigued with the 
more than sixty miles gallop, were soon quietly resting in the 
arms of Morpheus. With a breakfast of coffee, Mexican 
cheese and Jurupa hard tack, at daylight we took the trail of 
the retreating bandits, and followed it up Coldwater canon, 
sometimes in the bed of the stream, and sometimes clambering 
along the brink of some frightful precipice. In a little while 
Smith sent his infantry back to the fort, they being unable to 
follow the difficult and dangerous trail. After an infinite 
amount of scrambling, danger, and hard labor, we stood on the 
very summit of the Temescal mountain, now by some called 
Santiago mountain, and called by Captain Bonneville, nearly 
fifty years before, San Juan mountain. The da> was clear and 
beautiful, and we were repaid for our difficult ascent by the 
same view as described by Bonneville, the original American 
explorer, who said : " Standing on the summit of the San 
Juan mountain, with my face towards the sea, I behold the 
great Pacific ocean with its numerous islands spread out before 
me, while to my left are the limitless plains of San Luis Key, 
and to my right the great volcano and lava fields of San 
Gabriel," all of which that Ranger- Mormon infantile army 
beheld with pleasure (a sublime view, more than worth 



170 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

the journey and ascent), save and except the "volcano 
and lava fields" described by the adventurous Captain 
Bonneville — because there were none : Bonneville was mis- 
taken. Besting a few minutes, we followed the trail along 
the ridge, bearing to the east, for several miles, and then 
descended to the plains, and by the time we were well out of 
the caiions and foothills the sun had gently gone to rest, and 
another beautiful moonlight night set in. Our poor mus- 
tangs were jaded, still we pushed on, and reached San Juan 
Capistrano late at night, and aroused Juan Forster (" Bless his 
old soul ! "), who inhabited the only inhabitable part of the old, 
dilapidated, vermin-infested, tumbling-down Mission buildings 
that Truman, in his " Semi-Tropical California," gets so enthu- 
siastic over. When speaking of the Mission and Juan Forster, 
he says "Bless his old soul," meaning Juan. Juan Forster 
was not blessed by that Ranger-Mormon expedition on that oc- 
casion ; neither did Smith " bless his old soul," as the sequel 
will show. 

We roused Don Juan up. He had no knowledge or infor- 
mation as to thieves. He guided us into an old open court- 
yard, with old, broken-down corridors, dusty, dirty, brick 
floors, that had been inhabited by hungry hogs and mangy curs 
since Don Pio had laid his despoiling hand on the doomed 
Mission. We were worn out, hungry and sleepy ; still, having 
a little barley, we tied and fed our worn-out mustangs, spread 
our blankets, and were soon sound asleep, regardless of the 
fleas, tarantulas, lizards, or any other kind of vermin. 

We slept, with what degree of comfort I will not pretend to 
say ; nevertheless, we slept until about four o'clock in the 
morning, when it commenced a cold, deluging, driving Novem- 
ber rain, and in a lit^e while we were all on our feet, shivering 
with cold and drenched with water. What with our fatigue and 
want of sleep, we had lain under our blankets until half 
drowned and frozen, and when daylight came we presented a 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 171 

pitiable spectacle — our poor mustangs, drawn up, hungry and 
half-frozen, our blankets soaked and muddy, and the rickety 
old roof above us pouring down deluges of water. Our Captain 
said : " Don Juan will be out presently, and will furnish us 
with better quarters, and whatever there may be of good cheer 
in the Mission, Don Juan will supply." (Bless his old soul !) 
Capt. Hope didn't say that, but doubtless, at the time, he 
meant it. 

Time wore apace, but Don Juan failed to put in an appear- 
ance. We were hungry, we were wet, cold and chill. We 
tried to saddle our horses, but our fingers were so benumbed 
that we could scarcely use them. The poor horses refused to 
move, but would herd and huddle under the lee side of the wall 
for protection against the driving blast. Finally, our Captain' 
lost faith even in the proverbial hospitality of an old English 
salt, and detailed a foraging party which, in the course of an- 
hour, reported back with a sack of barley, an armful of jerked 
beef, and some dry willow poles ruthlessly torn from one of Don 
Juan's corrals, ("bless his soul.") We still had some coffee- 
and we had our tin cups, and after many failures we succeeded 
in starting a fire, and having an abundant supply of water, we- 
went to boiling coffee, fed our horses on barley, masticated 
jerked beef, and anathematized the soul of Juan Forster, who- 
was still hibernating in his own hole. Hot coffee is a great 
restorer of circulation, and in a little while Smith and Cliff and 
one or two Rangers sallied forth in search of adventure, while 
the others continued to brew and drink coffee. The day wore 
on, mid-day passed, the storm increased in violence and Don 
Juan Forster hybernated, the Smith-Cliff party returned with a 
goodly supply of aguardiente in canteens. We held a council 
of war, some suggested calling Juan Forster out and demand- 
ing shelter, which he could have afforded, others that we saddle 
up and leave ; but where were we to go to, even if our horses 
cou'd travel? Finally our -Captain said that he would not 



172 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

force the hospitality of any one who by all moral obligation 
should be more than willing to accord That Don Juan 
Avila el Hico, who dwelt at the Aliso Rancho, only eight miles 
on the Los Angeles road, had a large house and always kept an 
abundant supply of forage and provender, and that we would 
feed our mustangs on what was left of our barley, fortify our- 
selves with what was left of our coffee, and light out, trusting 
to a kind Providence and the hospitality of Juan Avila el Rico. 
The rain still poured down in torrents, we kept the fire burning 
in a kind of a sheltered corner. Smith was the first to saddle. 
His horse, whom he called Vallo, was a noble animal, and 
Smith was as devoted to him as was ever a Bedquin Arab to 
his courser. Juan Forster's principal room fronted on the 
Mission square, and had a large, unglazed, open, iron-barred 
window, and Juan Forster had been seen sitting at that 
window during the day. Smith had imbibed freely from his 
canteen, and while we were still brewing coffee and getting 
ready, Smith went out and took position in front of the large, 
open window and bawled out at the top of his voice: "D — n 
Juan Forster ! — d — n Juan Forster !" which he continued for 
a full hour, vociferously roaring, "D — n Juan Forster," — and a 
general d — in — g, by which time we emerged from the miserable 
old corral, in the most dilapidated and wretched plight that it 
is possible, to imagine, and in doleful procession filed out of 
the Mission square, passing Juan's open window, and joining 

in chorus with Smith's doleful refrain, "D n Juan 

Forster." 

As night set in we reached a haven of. rest, a place of full- 
handed 'hospitality, where we were received with hearty, 
Christian welcome, and although our party was large the 
generosity of our noble host was yet larger, and the household 
and Don Juan Avila, "bless his soul," went to work in good 
earnest to ameliorate our wretched condition, and when the sun 
burst forth in all its glory on the following morning, with well- 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 173 

fed mustangs, dry clothes and full stomachs, we saddled 
and took up our line of march, the Mormons to San Bernar- 
dino and the Rangers, accompanied by Smith, to Los Angeles. 
The most of that Ranger-Mormon party have crossed over 
the river. Juan Forster owns a princely estate — fifty miles of 
the Pacific Coast. The generous Don Juan Avila stands in 
the presence of Him who rewards all acts of generosity. The 
gallant Smith left the army and joined the legions of the Lost 
Cause, and I believe is yet living. He was brave, and more 
than generous, and during the bloody days of fraternal strife I 
could imagine seeing him leading where only the brave dare 

follow, with his terrific battle-cry of "d n Juan 

Forster." 

"Time at last sets all things even." • 

— Mazeppa. 




J74 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 



CHAPTER XIV. 

)E1 Vijco Lugo — His Vast Wealth and Great Generosity — His Death — 
Bill, the Most Remarkable — Oinar Pacha — Louis Napoleon — U. S. 
Grant — Knights Ferry— King Gumbo Jumbo and Kahmchamehu — A 
Wonderful Saint — Chebang— Boom — My Compadre — Another Pacha 
who Decimates a Turkish Regiment. 




after my arrival at the Angels it was my good 
fortune to visit the home ranch of possibly the most 
, eminent Spaniard in California, Don Antonio Maria 

IT 7 

Lugo, by the Spaniards designated as "El viejo Lugo," by the 
Americans as " Old man Lugo," the patriarch of the numer- 
ous Lugo family, once so rich, powerful and influential. Don 
Antonio Maria Lugo was eminent, not as a politician or as a 
man of learning, but as a man of princely possessions, of 
.great generosity and unblemished honor. To be a kinsman of 
old man Lugo, in the remotest degree, was an assurance of an 
ample start in lands and cattle with which to commence the 
battle of life. To give the reader an idea of his great import- 
ance, it was always said, and 1 believe truthfully, that old man 
Lugo could ride from San Diego to Sonoma, a distance of seven 
hundred miles, sleep every night on his own land, change 
horses every day from his own herds, and eat beef slaughtered 
from his own cattle on the entire journey. As a man of vast 
possessions, of unbounded generosity and strict integrity, old 
man Lugo was without a peer on the whole California coast. 
•Originally a Spanish soldier, he obtained his discharge, settled 
in this country, commenced the business of stock-raising, was 
.-sober, industrious, managed his nerds successfully, extended his 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 175 

landed interests, and founded a family whose present numbers 
and various ramifications exceed any other family in the State. 
"Los Cuerbos," where Compton is now situated, was the home 
rancho of old man Lugo. 

The old Pon, then ninety years old, was tall, straight and 
supple, with a splendid military carriage, elastic step and 
measured tread, which gave evident proof that the training re- 
ceived in the King's army had made such lasting impression as 
would endure to the end of his life. When mounted, the old 
man was the beau-ideal of a horseman, and was the envy of all 
the young Dons, who were emulous of acquiring the style and 
carriage known and designated as "el cuerpo de Lugo" — the 
carriage of the Lugo. 

The old hero died, I believe, about 1860, at the age of 98 
years, maintaining up to within a short time of his death all 
of his physical vigor, and could ride on horseback, and, if 
necessity required, could swing and throw the lasso with as 
much vim and precision as the most expert youngster. His 
mental faculties, of the highest order, were perfect and unim- 
paired until the last minute. Old man Lugo died compara- 
tively poor; but he left a heritage to his legion of descendants, 
if .only understood and appreciated by them, worth more than 
leagues of land or cattle on a thousand hills. He left a name 
that stands honored, unsullied, and a bright example to be 
imitated by generations to come, and any man or woman, high 
or low, rich or poor, should feel proud to say, "I descended 
from Don Antonio Maria Lugo, who lived a century — a long 
life of usefulness — and died honored and wept by all, the 
friend of mankind, and without an enemy." 

Having disposed of old man Lugo, this timid historian 
approaches the difficult task of trying to do justice to the most 
remarkable character that he has ever known, and he believes 
he has met and known in his thirty years of adventure many 
curious and strange characters. Several times has this truth- 



176 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

fill historian essayed this difficult and trying subject, and at 
each time his pen refused its office and flanked off on some 
lighter and easier task. Had Byron lived and known "Bill," 
he might have done justice to his many virtues; his thousand 
peculiarities ; his eminent learning and great scientific attain- 
ments ; his curious history, wonderful adventures, great knowl- 
edge of the world and mankind ; his extensive travel ; his 
great familiarity and personal acquaintance with noted persons, 
including Louis Napoleon and Don Carlos, the Spanish pre- 
tender ; the Royal Isabella and the Duke of Wellington ; King 
Gumbo Jumbo, of Timbuctoo, and Kamehameha, King of the 
Cannibal Islands. Lopez, the Cuban patriot and martyr, and 
Omar Pacha, had been his school fellows. He was a partner 
of Gen. Grant in Knight's Ferry, and mined with Jim Savage 
on the Tuolumne ; was sailing master on the ship of the desert 
on her last voyage of discovery on the mythical Widney sea, 
and was chief architect of the construction of the Casa Grande 
on the Gila; and in a private letter had told Raglan how to 
capture the Malakoif, he having examined it professionally for 
the Czar, with a view to strengthening its immense defences. 
Having been a friend and partner of Grant when the now 
great man enacted the role of Charon for the wandering Argo- 
nauts, he became the confidential agent and correspondent of 
the Government at Washington in the dark days of the rebel- 
lion, and stood guard over the interests of the Union on the 
Pacific Coast, and kept a weather eye on a Governor suspected 
of disloyalty, and contributed greatly in preserving the integ- 
rity of the Union and holding the City of the Angels to a 
proper appreciation of the " best government," and preventing 
the actual secession of California. There is no question that 
Bill ran this angelic stronghold in the interests of the Union 
during the dark days, and but for him the angels would have 
gone in the interest of the Jeff. Davis Government ; and 
during the four years of strife and turmoil, the four years that 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 177 

tried men's souls, and filled the pockets of many, Bill was the 
big dog of this boneyard. He was the boss of this burg ; he 
ruled this angelic roost, and although he frequently begged the 
Government for leave to go to the battle's front, he was found 
to be the right man in the right place, and Grant and Lincoln 
implored him to stay here and fight it out if it took forty 
summers ; and stay here Bill did, and here he fought the great 
battle for the Union ; and though the odds were ten to one 
against him, still he won the great battle, and I hope his 
friends and all who know him will accord him' the distinction, 
as does the historian, of being the Boss Angel, or Sill the most 
remarkable. Henceforth, however, the "chronicler will presume 
on his more than quarter of a century of unbroken, uninterrupted 
friendship and close intimacy, and designate this grand historical 
character with the familiar cognomen of Bill. 

This careful chronicler first met and made Bill's acquaint- 
ance on his first visit to old man Lugo's. I was somewhat 
impressed with his personal appearance on first sight. He was 
of medium hight, of muscular but graceful figure, with a 
complexion dark as a Spaniard, a head that in intellectual 
balance and massiveness would have equaled that of the 
immortal Webster, and would have made a perfect model for a 
sculptor in giving cast to the head of a Roman Senator, a 
countenance as soft and sweet as the most gentle woman, with 
the most peculiar eye I ever beheld in mortal man, a sort of 
philosophic, poetic, sleepy eye, that seemed so soft, quiet, kind, 
benevolent and dreamy, but still so changeable. At the slight- 
est insult or offence those poetic, dreamy eyes would change 
and flash like the lighting of a match or the flashing of gun- 
powder. His mouth was expressive of great firmness, with a 
peculiar smile, so pleasing yet so dangerous to a thoughtless 
woman. Bill, however, had a chivalrous feeling, amounting to 
a kind of homage, an excessive gallantry, toward the fair sex, 

otherwise he would have been a rake. That mouth of his was 
12 



178 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

the kind of a mouth that always leads a weak woman to her 
ruin. There was this much animal in Bill, and with the single 
exception, and that flashing of the eye that indicated kinship 
to the Bengal tiger, he was all intellectual. He was a scientist 
and a philosopher of the true school of philosophy. 

As said before, I was somewhat astonished at Bill's peculiar 
physical and intellectual appearance, supposing him to be a 
Spaniard, but when he spoke in the most elegant and gram- 
matical English, and in a manner and tone of voice that would 
have been the envy of the most cultivated courtier, or diplomat, 
my surprise bordered on curiosity, and immediately on taking 
our departure I inquired of my companion about him and who 
he was. The only information he could afford me was that he 
was " old man Lugo's friend, general manager, interpreter and 
confidential adviser ; that there was an air of mystery sur- 
rounding the gentleman, that he was polite, amiable and genial, 
but whence he came, who he was, his nationality, antecedents, 
former history, et cetera, he kept to himself." His name was 
English, though surely he was not an Englishman, neither did 
he resemble an American. He spoke the Spanish language as 
spoken in Madrid, as also the French, with fluency and pure 
Parisian accent ; still he was evidently neither English, Ameri- 
can, Spanish or French, so the question presented itself to my 
mind, who and what is he ? Broach any scientific subject, and 
he would show himself to be master of it ; any matter of his- 
tory was as much at his fingers' end as though he himself had 
made it to order ; chemistry seemed to be Bill's favorite 
science, and he applied it to everything, from making tortillas, 
cooking beans and making coffee, to the making of first-class 
cognac brandy out of the most villainous Mexican aguardiente, 
and by the most simple process of distillation he would convert 
the crude asphaltum, with which our streets are paved, into 
pure and refined camphene ; and thereby hangs a tale. 

It is known that asphaltum exists in inexhaustible quan- 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 179 

titles in Los Angeles County, and was always extensively used 
in roofing houses and paving streets. Now Bill's scientific 
knowledge pointed the way to boundless wealth to himself 
and to Los Angeles County in converting the unlimited supply 
into pure camphene ; and he would revolutionize the camphene 
trade, then so great. So he fitted up a laboratory in the old 
building that has since been so altered and improved upon, 
and is now known as the "Signoret Building." The main 
floor of the two-story frame was occupied as a drug store, 
while the upper story was used by an old gentleman mentioned 
by our deceased centennial historian as having been a most 
wonderful compadre, and of having been the padrino of more 
children than any other man in California, if the reader knows 
what that means, and his very pious and Christian old wife — 
the couple being childless — as being a very eminent comadre. 
Now, if the reader labors under the misfortune of being a 
"gringo," and don't know the mearning of "cornpadre" and 
" comadre," then it is the reader's misfortune and not his 
fault, and the author will endeavor to throw some light on that 
matter. 

The old gentleman referred to as having been so eminent as 
a compadre, lived to a ripe old age and went to his grave full of 
honors and was generally lamented. I could never understand 
how he bore up under the infliction of so many compadres. 
This to the author has been a long prevailing mystery. I once 
had a compadre who came near being my financial ruin. The 
author became a compadre in San Francisco in early times. 
To be a compadre is to stand as god-father for some one's child 
at baptism, then you become compadre to both parents and 
the father becomes your compadre and the mother becomes 
your comadre. Now it came to pass that I was in a solid 
financial situation at San Francisco, as aforesaid, and made 
the acquaintance of a most elegant Peruvian Don, a near kins- 
man and partisan of the great hero of Inca-land, the renowned 



180 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

Echinique. I was very proud of my aristocratic friend, and felt 
a great elevation of dignity when promenading Montgomery 
street with this, the only man I ever saw who knew how to wear 
a Spanish cloak, and how to carry a cane, and who knew how 
to gracefully give his cigar to a person to obtain a neighborly 
light from, and when we, arm in arm, entered the parquette of 
a theatre the eyes of the audience would be diverted from the 
stage to gaze upon his magnificence, so thought I in my 
youthful pride. It so happened that my friend was a married 
man, and had a most interestingly languid, lisping, tiopical 
beauty for a wife, and the high-born pair had a baby. One 
day my friend informed me that their nina was to be baptized 
and that I must stand as padrino to the child, and thereby 
the friendship between us would be cemented — we would be 
compadres. I at first demurred to the proposition, but the 
honor was so great that I surrendered at . discretion and won 
the distinction of being and having a compadre, as also a 
comadre. 

My compadre was a millionaire in his own country, but on 
account of the great Echinique being temporarily under a 
cloud, was an exile, and was living in a very modest way in San 
Francisco. But he received a letter from Lima by the last 
steamer, informing him that on the next departure of the Royal 
Mail Steamship a thousand doubloons would be sent to his 
private account, and ten thousand with which to proceed to 
New York and purchase arms for his great kinsman in case 
they could not be procured in San Francisco. All of this I 
learned at the time he requested me to stand for the nina. The 
time arrived and I was all excitement; I was about to Have for 
a compadre a nephew of the great man at whose frown all Peru 
trembled. 

On the morning of the important day my friend delicately 
hinted that a few presents to his wife, my soon to be comadre, 
was expected on this occasion ; also some toys, a little silver 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 181 

plate, or some trifles for the nifia. To save me the trouble he 
would buy them, but of course I would have to pay for them. 
I didn't wish to s?em mean, so I inquired about how much 
coin would be necessary for the trifles, and he mentioned a sum 
that seemed to me to be very large, .but, said he with a 
Spanish shrug of the shoulders, "quo vale este," (a mere trifle). 
Well, thought I, such honors don't fall to the lot of ordinary 
gringos, and I handed over the cash. I next learned from my 
soon to be comadre that I was expected to make a small 
present to the priest, a silver service of some kind, and so grand 
did I feel by this time that I would have bartered away my 
birthright rather than to seem penurious in the eyes of such 
• people, so away went another investment. At the hour set 
the company met at my friend's residence on Telegraph Hill, 
Lombard street. A grand dinner and confection was being 
served. Costly wines in .large quantities were being brought 
in, and I was duly informed that as a matter of honor the 
padrino was obliged to foot the bill. By this time, however, 
under the inspiration of wine I felt grander than any Spanish 
or Peruvian grandee that ever spent his million a year, and a 
hundred dollars seemed to me as small change, and away went 
my capital. 

The niiia was duly baptized, and I became a compadre; went 
to my room about daylight, fell into a kind of a slumber and 
dreamed that my grand Peruvian compadre had made me the 
present of a fee-simple title to a great sugar plantation in Peru. 
It was near noon when I awoke, and my aristocratic compadre 
was at the door. Some little bill remained unpaid and I was 
the only one who had the right to pay on such occasion — $40 
would square the thing up. I soaked my head in a basin of 
cold water, went down town with my compadre, handed over 
the coin, felt so bad that I returned to my room and to bed. 
Never more did I behold my only compadre. My comadre 
ever after to me was a vision of the past; and the nifia, God 



.182 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

only knows. A few days after ray accession to the honor of 
being a compadre, I learned that the kinsman of the great 
Echinique had gone to Stockton and opened a monte bank. 

Bill's laboratory was in the back room of the drug store, and 
most fortunately the room immediately over it was the old 
lady's oratory (the comadre's), and was inhabited by San 
Francisco, the greatest and most wonderful saint, possibly, that 
ever took up his earthly residence in this City of Angels. This 
eminent saint has performed, and still continues to perform, 
many and wondrous miracles. San Francisco is to-day, at the 
very time the author is reverently engaged in writing his praise, 
performing miracles, occupies elegant quarters, and is minis- 
tered to daily by the kind old widow of the . old departed com- 
padre. The writer avers, asseverates and declares the truth to 
be that San Francisco has performed, and still continues to 
perform, miraculous cures, and is decorated from the top of his 
saintly head to the tip end of his saintly big toe with testimo- 
nials of his many and miraculous cures ; and if the reader 
refuses to believe this most truthful writer, then let him verify 
the truth of history, and pay a visit to this remarkable saint, 
who is so famous in the City of Angels that he is as easy to 
find as the Round House, or the famous Round House George. 

If the reader should visit this renowned saint, possibly the 
first thing that will attract his attention will be a beautiful 
golden ornament, representing a woman's breast. Now, the 
significance of that golden ornament is this : An Angelic lady 
had a badly diseased breast, which medical science failed to 
cure ; so the poor woman was recommended to try San Fran- 
cisco. She accordingly went to a jeweler and had a golden 
duplicate made of her well breast, and hung it up in the oratory 
as an offering to San Francisco. The result was that almost 
immediately her diseased breast resumed its former beauty, and 
was perfectly healed. A Christian gentleman had a lung dis- 
ease that was hurrying him to the grave. His physicians 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 183 

informed him that their efforts in his behalf would be unavail- 
ing — that he must die. He was recommended to try San 
Francisco, so he had some expensive ornaments made, repre- 
senting a pair of healthy lungs, hung them up as an offering to 
that saintly practitioner, and in a twinkling his lungs were 
healed. On two occasions the house in which old San Fran- 
cisco hung up was nearly consumed by fire. Both times the 
fire raged fearfully until it reached the part of the house occu- 
pied 'by the most potent saint, when it mysteriously smouldered 
and went out. Notwithstanding Bill was personally present 
and directed a host of fire fiends against the consuming ele- 
ment, the fire, as before stated, continued on its devouring 
course until it came near San Francisco's elegant quarters, 
where the good old lady was engaged in supplicating his inter- 
cession, and right there it stopped. 

These are only instances of thousands of most wonderful 
cures effected by this most wonderful saint, and the subduing 
of the raging conflagration on the two occasions referred to. 
are only instances likewise of the potency for good of the 
ancient Francisco. 

The reader will soon be brought to understand why it was 
fortunate that San Francisco was quartered in the room 
directly over Bill's asphaltum camphene laboratory. It was a 
hot day in September, 1854, that all the elegant angels of 
leisure were kicking their heels in the cool piazza of the old 
Montgomery, which was immediately in front of the house 
wherein Bill was industriously engaged. in his laudable design 
of benefitting mankind in general, and himself and his adopted 
city in particular, when all at once chebang ! boom ! fire, flame, 
window-glass, a shivered door, and a general bust up in Bill's 
laboratory. It seemed as though the old frame house was 
lifted two feet bodily off the ground, and came down with a 
seeming great crash. The elegant angels kicking their heels, 
as aforesaid, ran to the rescue, and, in a short time, under the 



184 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

cool direction of Bill, who had stepped into the drug store 
to divert his mind in the chemical concoction of a " Welling- 
tonian cocktail," and was fortunately absent when the explosion 
took place, the fire was subdued and the question of damage 
was gone into generally, which proved to be quite heavy ; and 
right here the point comes in. If Bill's works had not been 
directly under San Francisco, that frail old house, then new, 
would have been blown sky high. You know it would have 
been entirely out of the order of things to have blown up a 
saint of such great merit as San Francisco. 

Bill was one of the coolest, yet one of the most determined of 
all the desperadoes of the southern counties. It is to be under- 
stood that Bill was not in any manner of speech a desperado, 
though in all truth he always got away with the desperado by 
whomever tackled. 1 will now proceed to relate a few indivi- 
dual instances of Bill's successful encounters with the knights 
of the trigger and blade. Once upon a time there was an 
attempt to assassinate Judge Benjamin Hayes, now deceased, 
one of our most eminent pioneer lawyers, which created quite 
an excitement. Parties of gringos went out in all directions 
(this was in 1851) to try to get a clue to the perpetrators of 
the dastardly attempt, one party under the " most useful man," 
accompanied by one Pete Monroe, a discharged dragoon and 
first-class desperado. The party brought up at old man Lugo's 
and interviewed Bill, who was deemed to be insolent in his 
demeanor to the inquisitive gringos, and was informed by Pete 
that if not more respectful he (Pete) would dismount and slice 
him with his sabre, which he carried at his side. Bill responded 
by stepping inside and returning with old man Lugo's long, 
straight Toledo blade, naked and in hand, and with one of his 
sweetest smiles invited Pete to dismount and try his metal. 
In a moment Pete was on the ground with his spurs and coat 
thrown aside, and as a preliminary made his bright dragoon 
blade describe a fiery circle as he derisively laughed at Bill and 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 185 

made the "right and left moulinet." Pete advanced; Bill, 
smilingly stood on his guard ; Pete made a tremendous " right 
cut," intending to slice Bill's head from his shoulders ; Bill 
turned his finger-nails down, slightly elevated his wrist, there 
was a slight clanking of steel, and Pete's heavy blade glanced 
off harmlessly, and Bill quietly remarked: "If you do that 
again I will disjoint your right elbow." "You will, will you?" 
said Pete coming back to a guard, "Now we'll see, damn you !" 
and he brought his " right hand to his left shoulder" with his 
gleaming blade at a perpendicular " edge to the left ;" Bill, 
who stood on "guarde in carte," made a slight turn of the, 
wrist, which brought him in " tierce," then as Pete launched 
forth the full force of his muscular right arm, Bill gave a dex- 
terous turn of his wrist, slightly raised his elbow, and Pete's 
arm and blade fell, the sabre to the ground and his arm help- 
lessly to his side. "Now," said Bill, "come in and let me fix 
your elbow, it is only out of joint." "I'll give you a thousand 
dollars if you will teach me that trick," said John Floyd Jones, 
one of the party who sat quietly on his horse. " Where in the 
name of all that's damnable did you learn that," said Pete, 
looking at his bleeding elbow that Bill was now engaged on, 
and demonstrating a skill in surgery not inferior to his dexterity 
in swordsmanship. "Learn what," said Bill, "that was nothing, 
I know you are a good swordsman 'of your school, but of my 
school you are mere child's play. I could take the ramrod from 
your carbine and disarm a half dozen such swordsmen all 
attacking me at once. And now," said Bill, addressing himself 
to John Floyd Jones, who was a well-bred gentleman: "If you 
gentlemen will now dismount and apologize for the rudeness of 
this buffoon, you will be more than welcome to the best we 
have on this ranch." The invitation was good naturedly 
accepted, the whole party turned their railery on the wounded 
and crest-fallen Pete, complimented Bill, and gladly partook of 
the hospitality of the Lugo family, and the polite and well-bred 



186 BEMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

Bill, who, like one of the knights of old would fight a man one 
minute and minister to his wants the next. 

Bill and Joaquin were chums before the eminent cut- throat's 
outlawry, and Bill was suspected of over-intimate relations 
with " Vicenta," Joaquin's favorite and pretty sister, who at 
the time of the bloody career of her brother dwelt among us 
terrestrial angels. A surveillance was constantly kept over 
Vicenta, and necessarily at times fell upon my present hero, 
whose knowledge of the secret operations of the robber chief 
was not only suspected, but was known, believed, and since 
confirmed. Still Bill's honor and chivalry was a safeguard to 
Joaquin, that he must have had full faith in, for the reason 
that developments subsequent to his death proved that Bill, if 
so minded, could have surrendered the chief at many times, had 
not Vicenta and honor protected him. 

Mike Chevallier was a renowned hero of the Texas' revolution 
and the Mexican war, was a graduate of the most high school 
of desperadoes, and famous for his many exploits on the classic 
shores of the Bonny Bravo. Of course Mike came to California 
in the palmy days of gold dust, monte games, free fights and 
revolver rule, and took a prominent position in the upper crust 
of bowie-knife society. He never missed his man until he met 
Billow!™ had been cutting up such extraordinary rustics with 
the fighting fraternity that his fame extended from Calaveras 
to San Diego, and Mike felt his prominence waning. Bill had 
taken all the wind out of Mike's sails, who wrote to Bill from 
Monterey that he " was coming to Los Angeles' to crop Bill's 
wings, and to be prepared to give him such reception as his 
great fame entitled him to." In due time Mike arrived, put 
up at the Bella Union, and dropped a note requesting Bill 
to meet him at Taos', in Nigger alley, at a certain hour, and to 
be " heeled." Bill answered the note, and assured the gentle- 
man who had done him so great an honor " that at the hour 
designated he would be there, and would be heeled." 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 187 

Accordingly, at about nine o'clock in the evening, Bill might 
have been seen at one of the great gambling tables at Taos', 
looking on and bucking an occasional slug, and manifesting the 
most careless demeanor. Still those peculiar ' eyes were in all 
parts of the great gambling-room. Bill had a Colt five- 
shooter, which he carried in his sleeve — a most beautiful way 
to carry a knife or revolver, so convenient-like, you know. 
Reader, if you want to be sure of getting the draw on a man, 
then learn to draw from the sleeve. Bill drew from the sleeve. 
The quick eye of Bill soon descried Mike quietly approaching 
with his right hand under his coat. Mike drew from the hip. 
Mike's tactics were common to desperadoes, to approach Bill 
unseen, and say, "Draw and defend yourself," and turn loose 
on him. Bill went on carelessly bucking, with an eye all the 
time on Mike. Just as Mike was going to say "Draw," Bill 
faced about, and, covering him, said smilingly : " Mike, I've 
got the draw on you. One movement, and you're a dead man." 
"True as Gospel," said Mike, "you are the first man that ever 
got the draw on Mike Chevallier. Shoot, or name your con- 
ditions." "My conditions are," said Bill, "that you leave 
town before daylight, never to return. Give me your word to 
that effect, and you can go ; refuse it, and I will shoot you 
dead." Mike made the promise, and Bill put up his pistol and 
invited Mike to drink to future friendship. The two then 
went off together and took several friendly drinks, and when 
about to separate Bill said : " Mike, do you know the reason I 
didn't kill you?" "No," said Mike. "Well, Mike," said 
Bill, "you remember that I arn the Grand Master of the Mili- 
tary Order of the Lone Star, and that after establishing that 
Order in General Houston's army, after San Jacinto, that you 
were one of the first initiated by me. Do you remember our 
vow, and do you see now why it was I spared you ?" " Great 
God, Colonel, am I to believe my own senses ; I now for the 
first time recognize you," responded Mike. Bill now with 



188 REMINISCENCES OF A HANGER. 

great dignity of manner turned upon his heel, and Mike was 
left alone to brood over his discomfiture. 

The truth of this matter is that Bill had in his former 
experience belonged to the Carbonari of Italy, and when he 
entered the Texas Revolutionary army as Chief of Engineers 
he translated the ritual of the Carbonari and made it appli- 
cable to his new Order of the '•' Lone Star." 

True to his knightly word, Mike saddled his horse and left 
the slumbering angels before day, returned to Monterey 
gloomily, fixed up his earthly affairs, willed his revolver and 
bowie to Bill, and committed suicide by taking two ounces 
of laudanum. Alas, poor Mike ! He for the first time in his 
wild career mistook his man. 

After an experience of years' duration, and after mature 
reflection on this interesting question, this thoughtful writer 
feels justified in advising the rising generation of would-be 
desperadoes to learn to draw from the sleeve. It is a most 
difficult and beautiful art, but when once master of it, you 
always get the draw on your man. Young man, learn to draw 
from the sleeve. 

I became very intimate with Bill, even on short acquaint- 
ance, and found him a most agreeable companion. He was a 
great cook as well as a groat compounder of mysterious mix- 
tures. When I say cook . I wish to be understood to mean 
scientific cookery. Bill used to say, "No one can cook a 
square meal unless he is familiar with the science of chemistry; 
no person should be permitted to cook unless familiar with 
this most useful of sciences." One time this very temperate 
writer started to the Dominguez Ranch in company with 
Myron Norton. I think maybe Jack Watson was also of the. 
party. The trio were of the total abstinence persuasion, but 
somehow or other when we halted, at Los Cuerbos, it was 
discovered that we were well armed with first-class Mexican 
aguardiente, which we used to wash the backs of our mustangs 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 189 

when we removed the saddle cloth, a time-honored custom 
among old Rangers. You will never gall your horse's back on 
long rides if you will only carry some good aguardiente with you 
and when you remove the saddle cloth, just pour about a gill of 
the fiery liquid on the heated hide of your horse; good brandy or 
whisky will do, but don't drink the brandy — if you do your 
horse may suffer. Well, when the very abstemious trio halted 
at old man Lugo's, that most interesting ceremony was gone 
through with, and our horses were staked out, and we stopped 
for dinner, and feasted on one of Bill's favorite dishes ta-wit : 
" Soo Loo curry." Reader, did you ever eat curry ? If not, 
did you ever eat the Mexican national dish, "carne con chili." 
Now, if you ever ate " carne con chili" you need have no fear 
of a future hell. "Carne con chili" is moderately cool in 
comparison with Bill's "Soo Loo curry." Curry is hot and 
when washed down with aguardiente it must be. if possible, 
still hotter. We, however, used our aguardiente on our horse's 
backs, otherwise we might have "combusted." 

The point this non-scientific writer is coming to is the 
" transmutation of liquids," which is only known to adepts in 
chemistry like Bill. After "curry," without having curried 
our mustangs, we continued our pilgrimage to Don Manuel 
Dominguez', leaving two bottles of aguardiente with Bill, well 
knowing that our heated mustangs would need some on their 
backs on our proposed return on the morrow. The morrow 
came, of course, and with the morrow came the three " sons of 
temperance" to Los Cuerbos, and when Bill produced a 
bottle of the aguardiente of the day before, we bathed the 
heated hides of our horses with as superior an article of 
old cognac as ever tempted the fidelity of a California voter 
or a Los Angeles Councilman — all the bona fide result of 
Bill's inimitable science. 

At the time of which I write, Bill was about thirty years 
old, judging from appearances ; but judging from his vast 



190 „ REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

knowledge, great travels, marvelous campaigns and voyages, 
Bill must have been at least three hundred and sixty-five. He 
was born on the mighty Ganges, was the son of an officer of 
high rank in the East Indian service, while his mother was said 
to be the daughter of a powerful Begum, one of the leaders 
in the bloody Sepoy rebellion. After passing through Eton, 
Oxford, and graduating in some of the continental seats of 
learning, and after protracted travels in the more civilized 
portions of the world, our hero returned to his native jungle, 
and in due course of time took an official station in the East 
Indian service. The biographer confesses himself somewhat 
befogged in placing Bill in command of a British war ship, or 
the manner in which he attained to such high station, but 
such is the truth of history. The writer also declares the truth 
to be that the " Soo Loo" pirates had been harassing the 
Indian Chinese merchantmen to such degree that Bill was 
sent to chastise them, and what does the reader suppose my old 
Ranger comrade did in that emergency ? To be frank, then, 
and to the point, Bill converted that royal ship into a full 
fledged pirate, he pulled down the royal cross and ran up the 
piratical flag of Soo Loo, made common cause with that grand 
and defiant horde of pirates, declared war against the world, 
and became the terror of the Chinese Seas. 

The result was as might have been expected. In less than 
half a year a whole squadron of the Royal navy was hot after 
him, and very soon our hero found that part of the world too 
small for him, and so he steered for the Sandwich Islands, 
where he intended to refit, victual and water his ship. No 
sooner did he appear in Hawaiian waters than a full-rigged and 
heavily armed British cruiser took up the chase, and Bill 
headed his ship for the California coast, scuttled and burned 
her off Cape Mendociuo, took to his boats, and became the 
discoverer of Humboldt Bay, where he landed with what was 
left of his crew, and being surfeited on adventures on the 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 191 

mighty deep, boldly struck out on an exploration of the then 
unknown interior. This was in 1842, and here cornes a most 
astonishing assertion — that this pioneer party of fugitive 
Britons, fleeing from the wrath of the enraged British Lion, 
became the original discoverers of gold on the Trinity River. 
We will not claim that Bill's fugitive sailors were the original 
discoverers of gold in California, but, that they had all left the 
Trinity gold mines with their purses well filled long before Sut- 
ter's mill was even projected, and before the historical Marshall 
had crossed the snowy mountains. This writer was one of the 
pioneers of the Trinity mines, and it was well known and mar- 
veled at, at the time, that " Sailor Bar" (no one knowing how 
it got its name) had evidently been worked, and nearly worked 
out. long before the pioneers of 1850 commenced their opera- 
tions. 

When the great allies declared war against the Northern 
Colossus, Bill was on his way to San Francisco with a few 
thousand of old man Lugo's fat cattle which he disposed of, and 
when about embarking for San Pedro a letter was placed in 
his hand bearing the monogram of the Horse Guards. Hastily 
opening the missive he found it to be a letter from Lord 
Raglan with a request to meet him in the Crimea, with the 
assurance that it was all right with the Queen on account of 
that little Soo Loo business. 

The day following, Bill was on his way to New York by way 
of Panama, having sent a statement of his account to old man 
Lugo, retaining may be $ 15,000 or $20,000 with which to defray 
his expenses to the seat of war. We will not follow him on his 
journey, but we next find him at the Allies Headquarters in 
the Crimea, where Raglan urges him to accept a position as 
Chief of the Royal Sappers and Miners, and his old college 
chum, Omar Pacha offers him the command of a regiment of 
Turkish cavalry, which offer, after many apologies to his 
•cousin Raglan, he accepts, and becomes a Pacha of Thre« Sails, 



192 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

to be known thenceforth as " Gillermo Pacha." With much 
ceremony my friend the Pacha was inducted into his com- 
mand, and to his surprise, when putting them through the 
drill for the first time, he found them insolent and insubordi- 
nate. After dismissal he sent for the Adjutant and Sergeant- 
Major to enquire why this was so, and was coolly informed by 
them that this particular corps was the oldest in the Turkish 
army, that it was once commanded by the Prophet himself, 
and that it acknowledged no commander save the Sultan. 
Said the Sergeant-Major: " When a commander is placed im- 
mediately over us who don't suit, he never lives to see his second 
battle." 

Bill thought over this matter all night, and by morning had 
come to the conclusion that his old friend Omar was playing a 
joke, and made up his mind what to do. At the next drill he 
ordered the regiment to parade dismounted, and when, they 
were drawn up in line Bill took his position facing it, and 
eighty paces to the front. He then ordered the Adjutant to 
make a detail of one man from each company, to report under 
the Sergeant-Major, all of which was done in a sluggish kind of 
way that was indeed provoking. But after awhile the Sergeant- 
Major reported his detail of ten men. Dressing them up 
neatly, Bill drew his sabre and slapped off their ten heads, 
ordered the Sergeant-Major to his post, and went on and put 
the command through their drill in a greatly improved way 
from the day previous. 

The next day the same operation was repeated ; ten more 
heads were cut off. The next day ten more, and on the fourth 
day, just as the regiment came most beautifully into line, the 
Commander-in-Chief, the great Omar, with his full staff, rode 
up. Bill saluted him, and caused the regiment to present 
arms. Omar inquired, "How do you like your regiment?" 
" I am delighted with it," said Bill. " Do they obey orders 
promptly ? " Omar again inquired. " Most beautifully," 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 193 

answered Bill. "Give me an example," said Omar. There was 
a battery near by, with the guns loaded, and a sentry standing 
by with a burning port fire. Bill motioned to a Captain on the 
extreme right to approach. Then Bill called his First Lieu- 
tenant in the same way, and the two saluted and stood before 
their Colonel. "Captain," said Bill, "go and place your head 
at the mouth of that cannon." He obeyed. "Lieutenant, 
take that port fire and fire off that gun." The Lieutenant 
obeyed, and the Turkish army lost one of its bravest captains. 
Bill then saluted the Commander, and said, " You now see to 
what discipline. I have reduced this refractory tribe, and I hope 
your highness is satisfied, and will approve the desperate 
remedy which was necessary to make them what they ought to 
and will be while under my command — the most perfect corps 
in the allied army." The great Omar did not only approve of 
what Bill had done, but in addition thereto sent him as a 
present three most beautiful horses belonging to his stud. 

Does the reader now wonder at the seeming mystery sur- 
rounding this curious character, as stated at the beginning of 
this brief sketch of one whom this historian could write volumes 
about. 

I have given Bill somewhat of a fictitious character, but in 
all truth and honesty he is one of our most honored and re- 
spected citizens, and now stands at the very head of one of the 
scientific professions, and one whom this old Ranger delights 
to call his friend and to write about. 

All 1 have written about this great cosmopolite is true, and 
is vouched for on the veracity of this veracious writer, who 
founds his veracity on Bill's own statements. And Bill is 
truthful, more truthful than the average '49er, and why should 
he not be ? Did he not first inhale the truth-inspiring air of 
California seven years prior to the coming of -the Argonauts ? 



13 



194 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 



CHAPTER XV. 

Attempted Assassination of Judge Hayes — Horses Stolen From San Ber- 
nardino Ranch — The Lugos Pursue, Attack and Defeat the Indians, 
and Massacre a Party of Americans — Adobe Houses— The Fandango — 
Peons and Pelados— Cascarones- -The Dead Desperado. 




12, 1851, late of a bright moonlight eve- 
ning, standing alone at the door of his office, Main 
jjjf street, where now is the Oriental, Benjamin Hayes 
was shot at by some one within three feet, on horseback. The 
ball, says the Star, "passed through the rim of his hat and 
lodged in the wall on the opposite side of the room, perforating 
in its progress the door, which is fully an inch in thickness. 
The assassin (?) then instantly galloped off. A party of three, 
including the Sheriff, J. R. Barton, tracked him about ten 
miles to a house where they were received by five or six men on 
horseback, who charged upon them, fired several shots, and 
drove them from the ground. The Sheriff deemed it prudent 
to return to the city. He did so, obtained a posse, went back 
to the place of encounter, and made a search that proved 
ineffectual. It has always been believed that this assault was 
intended for another individual." 

So writeth the "Centennial Historian," and hereby hangeth 
a tale of more than ordinary interest, of bloody import. Not- 
withstanding this chronicler is forced to take issue with his 
respected and departed friend, the lamented historian aforesaid, 
and maintain the' truth to be that Benjamin Hayes was the 
very person intended to be assassinated on the occasion above 
referred to in quotation, and the reason thereof to be that 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 195 

Judge Hayes was then the legal luminary of the city and 
county of the Angels, and was engaged in the prosecution of 
two of the numerous Lugos, charged with murdering some 
Americans in the Cajon Pass in San Bernardino county, and 
it was possibly thought best by the friends of the accused to 
end the prosecution by ending the Prosecuting Attorney, 
hence the attempted assassination. Now the reader can easily 
surmise why it was that the party of gringos under the " most 
useful man" went to old man Lugo's, and their inquisitorial 
intentions on that -visit and the very delicate, not to say 
dangerous, position of Bill on that occasion, and his satisfac- 
tory definition of his position in his successful encounter with 
Pete Monroe, mentioned in the preceding chapter. 

Sometime early in 1851, the Indians raided the San Bernar- 
dino rancho, then the property of the Lugo family, a branch of 
which occupied the ranch. 

The successful raiders drove off a herd of gentle horses, and 
went out through the Cajon Pass. Two of the Lugo's, with 
half-a-dozen of their dependents, followed on the fresh trail of 
the desert Indians, and in the Cajon they found some four or 
five Americans, and one half-breed Cherokee Indian. The 
Cherokee being the only one of the party who either spoke or 
understood Spanish, in response to inquiries, informed the 
Lugos that there were only three Indians engaged in driving 
off the herd, and that they (the party) never suspected that 
they were other than vaqueros legitimately engaged. The 
Lugo party pressed on, overtook the raiders at the Point 
of Rocks on the Mojave, and at once, and without counting 
noses, charged them, and to their intense chagrin and astonish- 
ment found the party to consist of some twenty warriors, 
instead of three. . A fierce conflict ensued, hand to hand, in 
which three of the Lugo party were killed, and several Indians 
were made to kiss the desert sands. Fortunately the Lugos, 
armed with Colt revolvers, achieved a splendid victory over the 



196 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

Indians and recovered the entire herd. On their triumphal 
return with the gory scalps of their enemies dangling at their 
saddle-bows, they found the same small party yet in the same 
camp, when the chief Lugo demanded of the Cherokee why he 
had deceived them about the number of the Indians. The 
Cherokee replied that he was anxious to see them recover their 
•stock, and was afraid to tell the truth, knowing that they 
would be too cowardly to follow a party of Indians respectable 
in numbers, This brought on words, which ended in the Lugo 
shooting the Cherokee dead on the spot. -A short, sharp and 
decisive conflict then ensued, which resulted in the Americans 
being entirely wiped out, and hence the prosecution against 
the Lugos and the attempted assassination of the District 
Attorney, Benjamin Hayes. The Lugos were finally tried and 
acquitted, the pioneer lawyer (Brent) who defended them 
receiving, as the writer has been informed, $20,000 for his fee 
— surely a fair legal starter in a small frontier town. 

One or two more reminiscences of the bloody times of 1853, 
and the reader will be drifted over into the more quiet times of 
'54, when matters became somewhat more pacific, but not less 
interesting. 

Notwithstanding the then, unsettled state of society, and the 
general insecurity of life in this angelic population, balls, fan- 
dangos and festivities were the order of the day. 

The gringo reader may not know the difference between a 
ball and a fandango, and the writer will inform him thereon. 
The ball, or in Spanish baile, means the same thing as in 
English, a select gathering of invited guests for dancing and 
general jollification and amusement, and in Spanish society is 
even more exclusive than among the Americans. On the other 
hand a fandango is open and free for all. Ladies of the higher 
ranks of society never go to a fandango, and Dons of the upper 
ton only go in a half-way clandestine manner. A fandango of 
the olden time was a curious agglomeration of all the elements 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 197 

of the population so promiscuously thrown together in this, at 
that time, curious, quaint old town. Everybody then dressed 
extravagantly fine. It was nothing to find a sefiorita of the 
most humble walks in life arrayed in x al! the costly silks and 
satins of China and India, resplendent with costly jewelry, and 
to find one inexpensively clad was the exception, and always 
elicited remarks at her expense. Gentlemen attending the fan- 
dango were always expensively and elegantly dressed, and a 
fandango was a brilliant but over-crowded show. All of 
the old Spanish houses had one grand room or sola, flanked 
by two other rooms, which made up the front of the houses. 
Two large wings extending back, with rooms generally used as 
dormitories, and a great high wall in the rear, forming an inte- 
rior court or square, witli wide corridors or verandas on the 
three sides, both outside and inside generally paved with brick 
tiles, a good pine plank floor in the three front rooms, and if 
not in the rear dormitories, they had brick tile floors, the same 
as the floors of the veranda ; adobe walls, well whitewashed, 
with chair-boards around the sala, good and substantial doors 
and windows, with shutters generally painted green, as were 
also the cornice and columns supporting the verandas, the 
whole covered with .a flat roof, and now you have a description 
of an old-style angel habitation. The ruins of many yet 
remind us of the good old times. The happy days of joyous 
revelry ; the gay baile; the noisy fandango and the hospitable 
fiesta of the times when the Spanish Californian was so full- 
handed and happy, that in his bountiful hospitality he gave 
little heed to the "sore-foot or the rainy day," and reveling in 
the happy present thought not of the future. Alas ! the 
future is the present, and he has lived to see it with sorrow. 

Sentimental writers speak of the "old mud hovels of the 
Spanish regime." N"o greater libel was ever perpetrated on a 
comfortable house than to call one of those old models of cool 
comfoit, one of our old first-class adobes, a hovel. The writer 



198 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

hereof, although no longer a man of war, but emphatically a 
man of peace and of letters, is ready and willing to maintain, on 
foot or on horseback, that one of our old respectable one-story 
adobes of the olden time was the most comfortable house, one 
of the most enjoyable homes, the most admirable piece of 
rural architecture that ever reared itself from the sacred soil of 
California. 

This writer stands by the adobe house as the coolest house, 
the warmest house, the cheapest house, and the most earth- 
quake proof house (might as well try' to shake down a hay- 
stack), and the best house for fandangos that ever existed in 
this old city, of yore so famous for her fights and fandangos. 
Nothing but an adobe house could have stood an old-fashioned 
fandango. A modern earthquake is no comparison to an old- 
fashioned California fandango, especially such as we had in 
those good old times in this angelic city. Alas ! alas ! we will 
never see the likes of them again. The old fashioned fandango 
is a thing of the past. Reader let us go to a fandango in 
1853. Before we start let us examine well our revolvers, oil 
the cylinders, and see that the tubes are open, free from rust, 
and well capped. We will dress as we please, only we must 
dress expensively fine. We must be sure and wear a red 
vicuna hat with a broad brim and a sugarloaf crown, a gold 
cord wound twice around, and heavy tassels. We can either 
wear a blue clawhammer with gilt buttons, or a modern black 
frock, or an elegantly fitting blue jacket, with a little gold 
embroidery, a red Mexican sash, sky blue pants and a gold 
bullion stripe down the side will make up an outre fashionable 
fandango costume, and the last being the Ranger uniform we 
are in fine feather and ready for the fandango. To be elegant 
we must still have a shining patent leather scabbard with 
silver mountings for our revolvers. We are not, however, 
required to wear the Ranger costume, still we must have the 
vicuna hat and must not omit the gold cord and tassels, other- 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 199 

wise we may be regarded as gringos a and then we would fail to 
enjoy ourselves, and if we dance it will have to be with some 
old woman, whose jealous Don might give us a dig in the ribs 
with his purial as we elbow our way through the dense 
crowd in taking our departure. A gringo stood no sort of a 
show at an old fashioned fandango. 

We are now in front of the fandango house, where we elbow 
our way through a dense crowd of Indians, peons and pelados, 
the riff-raff, scruff and scum of our angel population, and 
amid jibe and jeer we gain the corridor or veranda, where 
we find rancheros on foot or on horseback, all drinking, those 
dismounted, however, maintaining careful hold of the hair 
ropes of their horses, never daring to tie them up, or the peons 
and pelados in the rear will run them off and spout them for 
aguardiente. After an infinite amount of crowding and squeez- 
ing, we gain the door, inside of which we find a dozen or more 
dismounted rancheros holding their hair ropes with their 
horses' heads in near proximity without. As soon as discovered 
by the dismounted rancheros, they at once open the way with 
the polite salutation of "Pasan Vds. caballeros," (pass in, 
gentlemen); for be it known, reader, that the California 
ranchero was never rude. Even if he choked one with his lasso 
he would be polite about it. Now we are in the grand fandango 
room, and what do we see and hear ? 

The fandango is in full blast. The musicians seated in one 
corner of the room perform on the harp, guitar, violin and 
flageolet, and make very good music for the initiated ; but to 
the gringo, somewhat discordant, especially when broken in 
upon with a horrible essay at vocalisra. The room is packed 
to its utmost capacity, a waltz is going on, gaudily dressed 
rancheros, fashionable and unfashionable gamblers, store clerks, 
county officials and well-to-do merchants, with representatives 
from all lands under the sun, except China. John never was 
much on the dance (his foot and figure not being in accord with 



200 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

the light fantastic); Hindoostan was represented, however, in 
the person of Abdul Krim Mullah, called by vulgar angels the 
" Royal Bengal Tiger;" a brilliant array of Rangers, with quite 
a sprinkling of Jews and one or two • young army officers, 
went to make up the male part of the fandango, while the 
female part of the house consisted of a brilliantly gaudy crowd 
of seiioritas of various hues, ranging all the way from a beauti- 
ful brunette to the regular black diamond (that is, while at 
home); but the senoritas at the fandango were all on terms of 
the most perfect equality as far as complexion went ; that is, 
all were of pearly whiteness, in beautiful contrast with the jet 
black brilliancy of their eyes and the raven color of their hair. 

We pass through to the rear, but as we gain the door 
with our vicunas deferentially doffed, crash comes something on 
our heads, and we are covered head and shoulders with a 
gilded covering of infinitessimally small pieces of gilt paper, 
intermingled with pieces of colored egg shells. We turn and 
see the retreating figures of a pair of mischievous-looking 
coquettes, who have paid us the high compliment of breaking 
cascarones over our heads. 

A cascaron is an egg shell filled with gilt paper of all the 
colors of the rainbow, cut as fine as scissors can cut it, and 
then packed into the perforated egg shell, the open end of 
which is then closed up with a piece of wax, and when beauti- 
fully painted with variegated colors is ready for use at the 
fandango. During the carnival this custom was universal, and 
when a sefiorita broke a cascaron over a beau's head he, by all 
the rules of gallantry, was bound to respond by breaking one 
over her head, or maybe a dozen, which he usually did when 
she was wildly whizzing in the giddy waltz. 

With the fine cut glittering on our heads and shoulders, we 
pass out of the grand sola into the open court and corridor 
where we find an immense throng. On our right, in the 
"rincon," we find a large table groaning under liquors and 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 201 

confectionery free for all, because this is an old-time fandango 
where the master paid the music and all other expenses, 
including refreshments. No liquors were ever sold on such 
occasions. 

On our left a monte table is in full blast. Kancheros sur- 
round the table and are intently engaged in tempting the fickle 
goddess. We begin to enjoy ourselves, when all at once bang 
goes a revolver inside the grand sola, and a commotion follows,. 
and a rush is made into the open court. Then more shots, 
with a profusion of oaths in English. In an hour or more 
quiet reigns supreme. The feminine part of the fandango 
have retired and the ranchero merrymakers, finding the row 
to be one of gringo origin and to belong exclusively to the 
gringos, mount their horses and quietly ride away, and then we 
learn the following to be the facts : In the first place we had 
a dead desperado, and this is the way lie came to his well- 
merited end. Bush was a quiet young German. Nimmo was an 
American, ordinarily a good fellow, but with the third glass 
of aguardiente was ready to fight, kill and destroy the whole 
human family, including his grandfather or any other man. 
Bush had a sweetheart — a light, active, fascinating senorita — 
one who laid claim to the proud distinction of being the belle of 
the ball room. This gay bird of brilliant plumage had honored 
Bush with a bombardment of cascarones. Bush responded by 
breaking his last one on her head, and as she sailed past where 
he was a looker-on, he turned and begged the loan of one from 
the gentlemen present. Nimmo handed him one all painted 
and pretty, and as his angel swept by as on the wings of the 
wind, or on the wings of love, he gave her another well-directed 
shot, and Oh ! horror of horrors ! he had broken a rotten egg on 
the head of the one above all others he wished to honor, com- 
pliment and please. He had committed an outrage which^ he 
could never atone. Hence the shot, commotion, stampede and 
dead desperado. Bush had shot Nimmo dead in his tracks. 



202 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

The musicians have been paid and have departed ; a small 
coterie gather around the gory desperado as he lays stark and 
bleeding in the place he fell ; his slayer has gone home to brood 
over his mishap and his first murder. Was it the last ? Quien 
sdbe ? 

We have seen an old fashioned fandango, and feel satisfied 
and surfeited on fandangoes — until the next, and then we are 
sure to go again. 




REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 203 




CHAPTER XVI. 

Alex. Bell — His Adventures — Leads a Filibustering Expedition to Equador — 
Gen.Flores — Eminent Fighting- Men — Walker's Expedition to Lower 
California— A .Mexican Hercules— Battle of La Grulla— The Twin 
Republics — The Old Flag Abolished — The Government Starts tor 
Sooora — Hercules Heads It Off— Major McKinstry, U. S. A. 



AN early chapter of these reminiscences mention 
was made of Aleck Bell, with a promise of more anon 
concerning that remarkable character, who, next to my 
favorite hero "Bill/' was the most peculiar angel that ever 
drew inspiration from our native nectar. Aleck was the very 
cream of chivalry, the beau ideal of a gentlemanly first-class 
American adventurer. I came near saying vagabond, but 
hardly feel justified in using the expression, although the 
line of demarkation between the one and the other is very 
zigzag, and a person hardly knows which side of the line he 
may be on. To be one he may be the other, to be the other 
he may be the one. In the mind of this experienced Ranger 
it is all about the same thing. Aleck was about the hand- 
somest man on the coast, near six feet high, as lithe as a 

% 

Delaware and as graceful as a statue, at the time of which I 
write about forty-five years old, and died at San Francisco in 
1859, aged about fifty. However, during his whole career on 
this coast he would never have been regarded as over thirty- 
five years of age. 

The first account I have of Aleck he was captain of a 
steamboat on the Tombigbee river. How long he had com- 
manded the boat prior to the happening of the event which 



204 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER 

gave him a fame as wide and as long as the Tombigbee itself, 
history fails to inform us, nor does it greatly concern us, 
either. Suffice it to say that Aleck, being captain of the 
craft, according to his general characteristics utterly and irre- 
trievably swamped her in hopeless debt. It was said that 
Aleck's steamboat on the Tombigbee became the refuge of all 
the impecunious deadheads, broken down sports and played out 
gentry in the whole region of navigation from Mobile to Mont- 
gomery, and that few passengers paid fare on Aleck's boat. 
Now to the point. The steamer was quietly freighting at a 
big pile of cotton at an obscure landing on the river, when the 
crew all of a sudden knocked off and demanded their full 
arrears of wages. 

Expostulation, promises and a free distribution of whisky 
were of no avail ; further work they refused to do. Aleck 
final!} adopted a ruse de guerre — he offered them a compro- 
mise. He told them if they would stow away in the hold of 
the boat all the cotton then on board, that the owner of the 
cotton would become responsible for their pay, and would pay 
them when they arrived at Mobile ; but he informed them that 
no arrangement would be made until the stowage in the hold 
was completed. The crew accepted the proposition and went 
to work with a will, and about the time the last bales were 
being stowed in ship-shape manner, Aleck quietly proceeded to 
batten down the hatches on the whole crew, consisting of 
mates, fireman and deck hands. He then went leisurely to 
work and treated with the owner of the cotton for " niggers " 
to finish loading and to fire up and run the boat to Mobile, all 
of which was accomplished in the course of four or five days, 
and when the boat was safely moored the famished crew, which 
had been all this time without food or drink, were dragged out 
in such pitiable condition as to create horror and indignation 
in the minds of the gentle Mobilians to such degree as to 
cause Aleck to suddenly emigrate to Texas, which was just 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 205 

prior to the outbreak of the war with Mexico. On the landing 
of Gen. Taylor at Corpus Christ! with his army of occupation, 
Aleck joined him with a spy company, and so continued in the 
service with marked distinction until the close of the war, when 
he came overland to California. 

Aleck was the original 1'acific Coast Filibuster, and as I 
propose to give an account of all the filibustering expeditions 
that were in any way connected with this City of Angels, and 
as our present hero was in the zenith of his glory, the first man 
and the most prominent angel (after Bill) of our town, and as 
he commanded the first filibustering expedition that ever left 
the American Pacific coast, and as the expedition was officered 
generally by leading men of this fair city, I propose to relate it 
as legitimately connected with our angel history. 

It is strange, but nevertheless true, that all countries subject 
to volcanic eruptions are also peculiarly subject to political 
outbreaks, revolutions, or human eruptions. I say all coun- 
tries ; I will except one — Iceland. The people of that island 
are not eruptive, and for the reason, I apprehend, that they 
have been in perpetual war with the elements for the last 1000 
years, and have their hands abundantly full to fill their 
stomachs and keep soul and body together, and to keep from 
freezing to death. 

The distance is very great from Iceland to Equfador : there 
is not much difference, however, between Hecla and Cotopaxi, 
and the only possible difference in the people is that the Ice- 
landers are so poor that if they should attempt a revolution 
they would at once be "froze out," so they must perforce con- 
tent themselves in collecting blubber and wondering at the 
eruptions of old Hecla. JSTot so with the favored denizens of 
torrid Equador. When Cotopaxi boils, bellows and fumes, 
Quito is quiet. When, however, Cotopaxi behaves herself and 
is disposed to be quiet, then Quito misbehaves, raises a rumpus, 
and perturbs the general quiet of the country by a political 



206 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

eruption. In 1850 General Flores was President of Equador. 
At the time of his inauguration everything was remarkably 
quiet save Cotopaxi, which was just going it, and things were 
flourishing under Flores until Cotopaxi shut down. Then the 
people raised a smoke, and Flores fled to Panama, thence to 
San Francisco, carrying with him enough of the Ecuadorian 
national finances to purchase the steamer Lightfoot, equip and 
set on foot an expedition of American patriots, who promised 
to reseat the exiled President and cool the ardor of the volcanic 
Quitoans, and if necessary " douse the glim " of old Cotopaxi 
itself, and stand by the President to the last doubloon. Flores 
had money — bushels of it. Besides the public swag he got 
away wi.h, his nephew, Geronimo Elizondo, a Peruvian mil- 
lionaire (years after Deputy Clerk of Los Angeles county), 
gave him ten thousand doubloons to assist in reasserting his 
right to rule those volcanic Republicans. 

The expedition on the Lightfoot was composed of the flower 
of California's fighting men, numbering 250. The Owens, the 
McNabs, the Taylors and the Turners were of the army of 
restoration, and who of the olden time Californians, does not 
remember the great personal prowess of Billy Owens, Jim 
Taylor and the McNabs, the most eminent of our pioneer 
desperadoes ? Billy Owens finally finished Jim Taylor in a 
pistol fight. Aleck commanded the army on the Lightfoot, 
which was only auxiliary to the main expedition that rendez- 
voused at Panama, composed of Spanish- American military' 
adventurers and the political adherents of Flores, who. like 
himself, had fled the country. The united expedition, forming 
a flotilla of two steam transports, under convoy of an armed 
gunboat (which, I believe, Flores had purchased from Pern, 
that government having accorded him belligerent rights), 
entered the Guayaquil river, successfully engaged the shore bat- 
teries, landed and captured the city of Guayaquil, where, the 
strength of his army being greatly augmented, he lost no time 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 207 

in marching on Quito, the unquiet. Like a snowball, Flores* 
army gained strength as it advanced, the brave and self- 
sacrificing Americans forming a distinct corps and camping 
separate from the main army. To use the language of my old 
friend Albert H. Clark, of humorous memory, an officer of the 
American corps : " One night there seemed to be a very 
unusual movement in camp. We could hear bodies of troops 
moving, men working in different directions, the rumble of 
artillery, for which we could in no way account until morning, 
when we found ourselves corraled by the whole army, with 
barricades and entrenchments in front of them, all facing 
inward toward us, horse, foot and artillery. We . were then 
informed that we, being more ornamental than useful, were to 
be disarmed, marched back to Guayaquil and shipped out of the 
country. Our military ardor had been very much damped by 
the tropical mists of the country, but this was too much; but 
still we bore it. because there was no way of getting around the 
thing. We were disarmed, marched under guard to Guayaquil 
and given a free passage to Panama, where we arrived desti- 
tute, disgusted and utterly surfeited with military expedi- 
tions." Gen. Flores had compromised with his rival, and they 
had agreed to rule jointly, and the patriotic Americans were 
dismissed without so much as " Thank you, gentlemen." Of 
the angels who went on that expedition, the only ones who 
returned, so far as I remember, were Aleck himself, Albert H. 
Clark and Frank D. Gilbert, all men of local prominence in 
their time. The Flores expedition left San Francisco in 1851. 
The patriots did not, however, get Back to Los Angeles until 
early in 1853. Aleck's first break after his return was to form 
a joint stock company to work our salt works, which resulted 
in his effectually salting some of our solid citizens, Charles R. 
Johnson and Uncle Billy Rubottom in particular. 

In October, 1853, the barque Caroline sailed from San Fran- 
cisco with the republic of Lower California and Sonora on 



208 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

board. William Walker as President, and Watkins as 'Vice- 
President, with a full complement of Ministers, of War, of 
Marine, of Finance, of Foreign Relations and of State, with all 
their respective Secretaries, and other grave functionaries, judi- 
cial officers and so forth, and too tedious to mention, and in fix- 
ing up 'the departments of government, with a military 
establishment, generals, colonels and all such like, all of whom 
had to be selected from less than fifty men, it is doubtful 
whether there was the traditional private to stand guard. In 
November the government of the two republics reached La 
Paz, landed, scattered the inhabitants, captured the Governor, 
proclaimed the independence of Lower California, hauled down 
the Mexican flag, declared the civil code of Louisiana to be the 
law of the land, and ran up the flag of manifest destiny — a 
blue field and a lone red star. All. of this was done within half 
an hour. A few days thereafter a great battle was fought. 
The ungrateful Mexicans rebelled against their liberators, two 
or three were killed on either side, the rebels were whipped and 
the government triumphed. This was called the battle of La 
Paz. The news of this battle caused more enthusiasm in Cali- 
fornia than did the battles fought by Taylor on the Rio Grande 
among the war champions in the United States. In San Fran- 
cisco the national flag of the new republic was flung to the 
breeze on the corner of Kearney and California streets, where a 
recruiting office was opened and the cut-and-dried bonds of the 
government were put upon the market and sold. The war 
spirit ran riot. Freedom to the Mexicans and spoils to the 
Americans was the battle cry. Lower California must be free, 
and then, ho for Sonora ! A league of land, with cattle to 
stock it, and all for the trouble of going there. 

Next came the news of the battle of La Grulla, where the 
liberators were handled without gloves by a young Mexican 
Hercules named Melendez, who objected to being liberated. 

"Young America to the rescue/' was the cry. Men of 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 209 

means advanced money, recruits flocked to the standard of the 
government, headquarters in San Francisco were crowded, the 
drums clattered, the trumpets brayed and the fifes screamed. 
•' La Grulla must be avenged ! Melendez, the rebel, must be 
hung ! The Mexican tyrants must be put down ! " Accord- 
ingly, in December, the barque Anita, flying the lone star flag, 
sailed from San Francisco, carrying 240 ardent liberators. In 
the meantime the government, carrying the archives with it, 
abandoned La Paz, which is around on the gulf side of the 
peninsula, and came around and established the national capi- 
tal at Ensenada, where it was joined by the Anita contingent. 
Encouraged by this formidable reinforcement, the govern- 
ment, by a graceful flourish of Walker's pen, abolished the 
old flag and ran up in its stead the triple-barred and twin- 
starred flag, and annexed Sonora, all in a few minutes, 
followed by a grandiloquent proclamation, which dwelt on 
the "holiness of the cause;" the government was backed by 
the people of California, who believed in the 

" Good old rule — the simple plan—- 
That they should take who have the power, 
A.nd they should keep who can." 

All in all about five hundred men rallied to the support of, 
the twin republics. But somehow or other young Hercules 
still refused to be liberated, and kept harrassing the govern- 
ment to such an extent that they found it difficult to forage 
.for beef and beans, the rank and file became hungry and 
dissatisfied, and some attempted to desert, for which the 
government had them shot. Melendez, the mendacious rebel, 
kept pegging away at the government until it was driven from 
its capital, without a place whereon to rest its weary head, 
and so it set out on foot for Sonora. Melendez resolved to go 
to Sonora also, and followed close on the rear of the emigrating 

* O O 

government, harrassed it day and night, and followed it across 

the United States line, the government having deflected 
14 



210 REMINISCENCES OF A BANGER. 

towards San Diego, with Melendez barking at its heels. Maj . 
McKinstry, commanding the United States post at San Diego, 
charitably marched to the rescue and kindly took the govern- 
ment of the twin republics in out of the cold, and bade Her- 
cules Melendez go home and be a good boy, cultivate sandillas 
and have an ever open eye for jerked beef. 

The rag-tag and bobtail of the army came to Los Angeles. 
The government was sent to San Francisco, where it was tried 
and acquitted, and a year or two later went on a pilgrimage of 
liberation to Nicaragua, with about the same success that 
attended its unappreciated efforts in Lower California and 
Sonora. 

This writer of filibusters will excuse himself for the present, 
and promise in the next chapter to take up and dispose of the 
noble Count Gaston Rausset de Boulbon, and the lamentable 
invasion of poor Harry Crabbe. 




REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 211 




CHAPTER XVII. 

More Filibusters — Cafe Barrierre — Madam Begon — The Expedition of Count 
Gaston de Raoussett Boulbon to Sonora — AllMade Prisoners— The Noble 
Count is Shot and His Followers are Banished to Los Angeles — The 
Crabbe Expedition to Sonora— Its Objects — The Ainsa Family— Gandara 
and Pesqueira — The Massacre — One Survivor Tells the Tale — The Feast 
of Demons — Fernandez the Traitor — Alexis Godey and Kit Carson — 
Crabbe's Original Letter to the Mexican Prefect Announcing His 
Coming — Pesqueira's Proclamation. 

WILL drop Aleck Bell for the present,in order to 
continue the history of the Filibusters. We have 
drifted out of '53 to '54, when our angel population 
was greatly increased by the influx of the rag-tag and bobtail 
of the exploded Walker Government of Lower California and 
Sonora, which gave up the ghost on the San Diego side of the 
line about February, 1854, after a brilliant existence of some 
four months. Many of our best citizens came from the '-'busted 
up " twin republics of Lower California and Sonora, all of whom 
have disappeared. The theory of filibustering, or manifest 
destiny was: "First, that the earth is the Lord's and the 
fullness thereof, and we are the Lord's people ; second, that all 
Spanish- American governments are worthless, and should be 
reconstructed, and that such is our mission ; that the people ot 
Lower California and Sonora are, or should be, dissatisfied with 
Mexican rule, and are, or should be, ripe for rebellion, and if not 
in terror of the Mexican central despotism would cry out for 
American aid to shake off their galling chains ; the Sonorefios 
ought to rise, proclaim their independence, and cry for help 
from the generous Filibuster, who stood ready to help the 
down-trodden Mexican and to feather his own nest in particu- 



212 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

lar." We were, therefore, determined to succor the oppressed 
people of Lower California and Sonora. who were silently pray- 
ing that we might come and relieve them from their cruel yoke, 
and their surplus supply of horses and such like, and possess 
the lands of the country and receive the thanks of a grateful 
people after we had won their liberties and relieved them of 
their property. Such were the noble sentiments that inspired 
the champions of manifest destiny, or the spirit of conquest 
run riot, and culminating in those piratical expeditions of 1851 
to Cuba and 1853 to Lower California. 

At that time in California it was as unpopular to be op- 
posed to filibustering as it was to be opposed to African 
slavery, then our most cherished institution, and few had the 
courage to say aught against it. Then who should blame the 
man who shouldered a rifle and went to the field to maintain 
and vindicate the spirit of the times. As an instance of the 
spirit that prevailed at the time, I will .state as a fact that in 
1853 and 1854 Don Pedro C. Carrillo was one of the most 
popular and influential Democrats in the California Senate, and 
that when Walker was raiding and robbing ranches in Lower 
California, Don Pedro greatly impaired his popularity in the 
Senate by offering a series of resolutions in condemnation of the 
Filibusters. His resolutions were voted down, and ponderous 
blows were showered upon him as being opposed to the spirit of 
American liberty. Another was the judgment of Ogden Hoff- 
man, of the United States District Court, in passing sentence 
upon Col. H. P. Watkins, Vice-President of the Eepublic of 
Lower California and Sonora, convicted of the crime of setting • 
on foot a military expedition against the Republic of Mexico. 
Said the Judge: "From my heart I sympathize with the 
accused, but I am sworn to the execution of 'the law and must 
discharge my duty, whatever my sympathies may be. To the 
law and to the evidence, then, we must turn our exclusive 
attention. I may admire the spirited men who have gone forth 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 213 

upon these expeditions to upbuild, as they claim, the broken- 
down altars and rekindle the extinguished fires of liberty in 
Mexico, or Lower California. It may be that they are not ad- 
venturers gone forth to build for themselves a cheap fortune in 
another land. But even were such my opinion of their pur- 
poses, and their objects as glowing and as honorable as depicted 
by counsel, still, sitting as a Judge, I should regard only the 
single question, has the law been violated ? " The Vice- 
President was convicted by a jury, and fined $1500 by the 
Judge, not one cent of which was ever paid, neither was there 
an effort to enforce its collection, and no imprisonment followed. 
Walker, the President, was afterward tried in the same Court, 
under a like indictment, and acquitted. To sympathize with 
filibustering at the time was popular. An actual Filibuster 
was a lion — a hero. 

In the latter part of 1854 we had a most delightful accession 
to our angel population from the burst-up French filibuster- 
ing expedition to Sonora nnder the leadership of the noble 
Count Gaston de Raousset Boulbon. Our population gen- 
erally, when not engaged in broils, was, at the time, jovial, 
light-hearted and happy; but the arrival of some two hundred 
rollicking sons of Gaul gave additional zest to our happy 
times. The fifty per cent, of those Gallic vandals who came to 
our town were of the very essence of chivalry^ gallantry and 
good humor. The most of them went to cooking and keeping 
restaurants, some to work in the vineyards and at wine-making, 
while not a few procured shotguns and made war on the rabbits 
and hares and other convenient small game fwith which the 
country at the time greatly abounded. The accession was 
valuable, and every Frenchman did his best to make himself 
not only useful but ornamental and agreeable. Who of the 
bon vivants of the time does not remember the inimitable 
cuisine of that great master in the art, Cascabel, who was chef 
at the famous restaurant of Madame Barrierre. Cascabel was 



214 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGEU. 

a gentleman — a chevalier — and had been a line officer in the 
army of Algiers, had in some way or other drifted out of the 
service and into California, embarked in the expedition, and, 
like all noble Franks when in reduced circumstances, took to 
cooking as naturally as a duck to a mud puddle. Myself, my 
legal friend, A. J. King, Esq., and the noble cook formed three 
of a company in January, 185/5, to explore the Kern river 
region, until then a terra incognita, since which I have had no 
account of Cascabel. 1 think the good coaking of the eminent 
artist added greatly to the Venerable appearance of that prince 
of good livers, Judge Myron Norton, who was a generous 
patron of the Cafe Barrierre. 

Of all that Frankish immigration I believe there are only two 
survivors in our city, and one is Madame Begon, who is the 
owner of a very pretty property on Castelar street, in the upper 
part of the city, and the other is one of the prominent vignerons 
of the Vineyard city. At the coining of the French Filibus- 
ters the Madame was in the very prime of buxom womanhood, 
and started a small restaurant at the place where the Ferguson 
A; Rose stable now stands, and for a reasonable compensation 
would give you, in addition to a well cooked dinner and bottle 
of wine, a vigorous lesson in rapier exercise, for which purpose 
she kept on hand a pair of gloves, foils and masks. The 
Madame was a master in the use of the foil, and my ideal 
hero, Bill, was the only one I knew who could stand up to her. 
The Madame was emphatically a militaire, had served twenty 
years in Algiers as a vivandiere, and as a natural consequence 
took easily to filibustering. How the Madame came to Cali- 
fornia I am unable to say, but should the reader be curious 
to know, let him call on the fat old gray-haired dame who 
reclines in her easy chair and lives easily off her rents, at her 
residence on Castelar street. As far as the French Sonora 
filibustering emigration to Los Angeles is concerned, Madame 
Begon stands high. 



REMINISCENCES OF A HANGER. 215 

Count Raousset was also an ex-French militaire, and of 
former high rank — how high I could never learn, but I am 
free to maintain, on the honor of a truthful chronicler, that if 
not so high as general it was certainly above that of corporal; 
and had fortune prolonged his days of usefulness to the 
present, and to our city, he would have been at least a colonel. 
How the noble G-aston came to California it is riot necessary 
to inquire, but it is fair to presume that like all of us, from 
the noble Duke of Sonora to the humble writer of these 
reminiscences, he came to better his condition, and the first 
step in that direction was into the kitchen of a French hotel 
in San Francisco, where he became chief cook. Our climate, 
however, having an elevating influence on the illustrious repre- 
sentative of the noble house of Boulbon, as well as on Amer- 
icans, and pining for conquest, his first capital was invested in 
a shotgun, with which he sallied forth to war on the myriads of 
aquatic fowl which covered the face of the deep' sloughs across 
the bay. The Count was successful in his new venture beyond 
his most sanguine anticipations, counted his accumulations by 
thousands, and thereby counted up a good bank account and 
sighed for worlds to conquer. 

About this time the San Francisco world was venting its 
ridicule on the exploded Walker twin governments of Sonora 
and La Baja, which led the ambitio'us Boulbon to conceive a 
scheme of conquest worthy of the mettle of French valor. So 
having the ins and outs of cookery in San Francisco, he easily 
cooked up a kitchen cabinet and resolved himself to be 
Governor-General and Military Dictator of Sonora. With 
G-aston de Raousset to resolve was to act. to act was to 
achieve. So early in the season the ship Challenge spread her 
canvas to 'the breeze and sailed out of the Golden Gate, 
carrying " Caesar and his fortunes," backed up by four hundred 
bristling bayonets. The noble Gaul was on his way, fully bent 
on ruling or ruining the Sonora roost. The Count was beyond 



21G REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

question a good cook, and had counted on dishing up the 
Sonoreuos like beef a la mode. But that peculiar people, 
being adepts in the business themselves, most effectually (as 
the sequel will show) cooked the poor Frenchman's goose and 
sent his scullions to h Los Angeles. 

What the complications were that surrounded the expedition 
of Raousset de Boulbon were never fully understood, and if 
known at the time would have doubtless been forgotten. But 
if my memory serves me — and I only write from memory — I 
believe there was a rivalry between _,two military chieftains in 
Sonora, Yafiez and Blanco, and one Don Luis del Valle 
represented that the gentle Sonorenos were honestly crying for 
help from the galling despotism of some one or something, 
(Don Luis was Mexican Consul at San Francisco) ; that every 
man, woman and child had a pair of old-fashioned plow 
clevises securely riveted on their ankles, with great Down East 
log chains imported for that particular purpose, welded into 
each particular clevis, which each particular man, woman and 
child in Sonora were compelled to drag around in all of their 
business, agricultural, commercial, domestic or mechanical, 
chafe or no chafe. Hence the wail of despair, the cry for help, 
as represented by the patriotic Don Luis. "A burnt child 
dreads the fire." The Americans had burnt their fingers in 
attempting to strike off tne shackles of despotism in La .Baja, 
and we would "place our thumbs on our noses and gyrate our 
fingers at Don Luis when he talked about chains, and we would 
say, " Tell that to the marines." But the polite Frenchmen, 
not understanding our slang, fell into Don Luis' trap and so 
got their fingers burnt. The chains were red hot. 

After landing at Guaymas a severe and hotly contested battle 
was fought between the Mexican regulars and militia under 
General Yafiez, 4o the number of about four hundred, and Connt 
Raousset and his unfortunate followers, of the same number. 
The battle lasted three hours, the Mexicans using artillery. 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 217 

The Count's men were dumbfounded at being attacked, whereas 
they had expected to be received as liberators. This surprise 
gave the Mexicans the advantage. The Count performed prod- 
igies of valor, and after a loss of forty-eight killed and seventy- 
eight wounded he surrendered, was tried by military commis- 
sion, condemned and shot on the beach at Guaymas, meeting 
his fate like a Christian hero. He met his fate with so much 
dignity and firmness as to excite only admiration and respect 
on the part of the gentle people whose chains he wished to 
break. 

When I come to think of it I remember that Don Luis del 
Valle was arrested, tried and convicted in the United States 
District Court for setting on foot a filibustering expedition. 
But as neither the District Attorney, the attorneys for the 
defendant, the judge or the jury could understand head or tail 
of the "complications," as they called them, the whole question 
was dismissed, greatly to the relief of all concerned, the govern- 
ment in particular. 

Thenceforth for two long years the oppressed people of Sonora 
patiently bore their ills. Not a wail or cry for help was heard 
from that down-trodden people. The harsh clanking of those 
horid down East log chains that encumbered the limbs of the 
athletic Yaquis and their kindred, and dragged at the heels of 
the fair ladies of the land as they whirled in the giddy waltz, 
failed to reach the ear of the liberty-loving Filibuster, and 
Sonora was left to fight it out in the fashion of the Kilkenny 
cats until Crabbe put in an appearance early in 1857. Many 
deny that Crabbe was a Filibuster, but I affirm that he was, 
and the assertion is based on the following facts : 

In 1856 the Walker government in Nicaragua was a con- 
ceded success, and filibustering was popular. Crabbe was a 
disappointed politician, having aspired to an election as the 
Know Nothing candidate for United States Senator on the 
meeting of the Legislature of 1856. He was ambitious and 



218 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

poor, aud had married into a ruined family — that is, once rich, 
now poor and proud. Walker had conquered a firm footing in 
Central America, with the capital of Mexico as the objective 
point of his career of conquest. Crabbe would start in on 
Sonora, wage his conquests southward, and meet and greet us 
as common brothers in a common cause, and celebrate the 
conquest of Central America and Mexico in the ancient capital 
of the Montezumas. How do I know this as being the ambi- 
tious dreams of Crabbe when he left San Francisco for Los 
Angeles ? This is the way I know it. Being in Nicaragua at 
the time, we received letters from our friends, members of the 
expedition ; one in particular from Admiral Gift — that is, the 
late George W. — who was to command the navy of the grand 
invasion that was to "throw thirty thousand men into Mexico 
before the heat of summer falls upon us." In Nicaragua we 
had the secrets of the invasion, and were bantered as to who 
would be first at the feast in the City of Mexico. Crabbe was 
a Filibuster, and why not ? Were we not all Filibusters at the 
time ? 

The Ainzas were a family of Manilla Spaniards, an old man 
with three highly educated sons and several beautiful and ac- 
complished daughters, the oldest of whom married Crabbe, the 
next married Bacey Bevan, the third a gentleman named Cor- 
telyou, the fourth a Dr. Talliaferro, a member of the Legisla- 
ture of 1856. Cortelyou went with Crabbe to Sonora, and was 
killed. The sons were afterwards arrested and imprisoned in 
Sonora, and were released on demand of the United States, they 
being naturalized citizens. The Ainzas came from Manilla 
with immense wealth, and settled iii Sonora, investing all of 
their capital in mines and lands, which were, in the due course 
of revolution, confiscated, and the family came to Los Angeles 
-as refugees, afterwards settled in Stockton, and later in San 
Francisco, where they dwelt in 1855-6. In 1856 there was a 
rivalry between two chief tains in Sonora — Gandara and PCS- 



REMINISCENCES OF A BANGER. 219 

queira. Gandara was in, Pesqueira was out. So Crabbe made 
an arrangement with Pesqueira to help him oust Gandara, and 
Pesqueira was to restore the confiscated Ainza estate and 
reward Crabbe's followers with land grants, and horses, and 
such like privileges. That was only the entering wedge to the 
towering ambition of Crabbe, who was a man of confessedly 
great ability. 

It seems that when Crabbe's plans were perfected he had 
about one thousand men enlisted. Possibly some two or three 
hundred went to Yurna, where some defection took place, and 
many abandoned the enterprise. Crabbe, like Pizarro of re- 
nown, gave all who chose the privilege of backing out, but 
informed them that after once breaking camp at Yurna all 
would be subject to strict military discipline, and desertion 
would be punished with death. He set out from Yurna, how- 
ever, with about one hundred men, and made a temporary 
camp at a place on the Gila known to the present day as Fili- 
buster Camp, in order to rest and prepare for the march across 
the arid desert intervening between the Gila and Sonora. 

In the meantime, Pesqueira and Gandara had made up their 
quarrel on the common basis of " death to the Filibusters." 
On reaching the frontier town of Sonoita Crabbe was first made 
aware of Pesqueira's treachery, and that the compact between 
the two patriots was to be sealed with the blood of himself and 
his followers. He had gone too far to retreat. Crabbe was a 
man of true metal, and being in for it he determined to do or 
die. He accordingly issued a proclamation, here given word 
for word, setting forth his peaceful and legitimate object in 
coming, his determination to stay, his ability to defend himself 
if attacked, and then pushed forward to Caborca. 

SONOITA, March 26, 1857. 
Don Jose Maria Eedondo, Prefect of the District of Altar: 

SIR: In accordance with the colonization laws of Mexico, 
and in compliance with several very positive invitations from the 



220 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

most influential citizens of Sonora, I have entered the limits of 
your State with one hundred companions and in advance of 
nine hundred others, in the expectation of making happy homes 
with and among you. I have come with the intention of 
injuring no one; without intrigues, public or private. Since 
my arrival I have given no indication of sinister designs, but 
on the contrary have made pacific overtures. It is true that I 
am provided with arms and ammunition, but you well know 
that it is not customary for Americans or any other civilized 
people to travel without them; moreover, we are about to travel 
where the Apaches are continually committing depredations. 
From one circumstance I imagine, to my surprise, that you are 
preparing hostile measures and collecting a force for destroying 
me and my companions. I know that you have given orders for 
poisoning the wells and have prepared to use the vilest and most 
cowardly measures. But bear in mind, sir, that whatever we 
may have to suffer shall fall upon the heads of you and those 
who assist you. I could never have believed that you would de- 
file yourselves by such barbarous practices. I also know that you 
have not ceased to rouse against us, by mischievous promises, 
the tribe of Papagos, our best friends. But it is very likely 
that, considering my position, your expectations will be baffled. 
I have come to your country having a right to do so, and as 
has been shown, expecting to be received with open arms ; but 
now I conceive that I am to encounter death among enemies 
destitute of humanity. As far as concerns my companions now 
here and about to arrive, I protest against any evil procedure 
toward them. You have your own course to follow, but bear 
this in mind : should blood be shed, on your head be it all and 
not on mine. Nevertheless, you can make yourself sure, and 
proceed with your hostile preparations. As for me, I shall lose 
no time in going to where I have for some time intended to go, 
and am only waiting for my party. I am the leader, and my 
intention is to obey the promptings of the law of nature -and of 
self-preservation. Until we meet at Altar I remain, 
Your obdt. servt., 

HENRY A. CRABBE. 

This letter is given to the Warden of Sonoita, to be delivered 
without delay to the Prefect of Altar. H. A. C. 

Four days later Pesqueira issued the following modest Pro- 
.clama to the gentle people of Sonora [Translation] : 



REMINISCENCES OF A BANGER. 221 

TGNACIO PESQUEIRA, 

Substitute Governor of the State and Commander-in-Chief 
of the Forces of the Frontier, to His Fellow -Citizens : 

FREE SONORENOS ! To ARMS, ALL ! ! 

The hour has sounded, which I lately announced to you, in 
which you would have to prepare for the bloody struggle which 
you are about to enter upon. 

In that arrogant letter you have just heard a most explicit 
declaration of war made by the chief of the invaders. What 
reply does it merit ? That we march to meet him. 

Let us fly, then, with all the fury of hearts intolerant of op- 
pression, to chastise the savage Filibuster who has dared, in an 
unhappy hour, to tread our national soil, and to provoke, 
insensate, our rage. 

Show no mercy, no generous sentiments, toward these 
hounds ! 

Let them be like wild beasts who, daring to trample under 
foot the law of nations, the right of States and all social insti- 
tutions, dare to invoke the law of nature as their only guide, 
and to appeal to brute force alone. 

Sonorenos, let our conciliation become sincere in a common 
hatred of this accursed horde of pirates, destitute of country, 
religion or honor. 

Let the tri-colored ribbon, sublime creation of the genius of 
Iguala, be our only distinctive mark, to protect us from the 
enemy's bullets as well as from humiliation and affront. Upon 
it let us write the beautiful words, ^LIBERTY OR DEATH," and 
henceforth it shall bear for us one more sentiment, the powerful, 
invincible bond that now unites the two parties of our State, 
lately divided by civil war. 

We shall soon return covered with glory, having forever 
secured the welfare of Sonora, and having, in defiance of 
tyranny, established in indelible characters this principle: The 
people that wants liberty will have it. 

Meanwhile citizens, relieve your hearts by giving free scope 
to the enthusiasm that oppresses them. 
Viva Mexico' Death to the Filibusters. 

YGNACIO PESQUEIRA. 

Ures, March 30, 1857. 

Upon entering Cab<n-ca he was attacked in front, flank and 
rear, desperately fought his way to the plaza, and was there 
forced to assume the defensive, which was successfully main- 
tained against twenty times his number for several days, and 



222 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

finally, under solemn guarantees and after more than half his 
men had been killed, and nearly if not all wounded, himself 
included, his ammunition exhausted, the house in which he 
had taken refuge burning over his head, Crabbe laid down his 
arms and surrendered. Within less than twelve hours the 
whole party, the well and the wounded, were murdered in the 
most barbarous manner. Their heads were severed from their 
mutilated bodies, and the head of Henry A. Crabbe was placed 
on a dish to adorn the head of the table at the grand dinner 
celebrated two days after the butchery, and over which his 
former ally, Ygnacio Pesqueira, presided. The bodies of his 
followers were left on the ground to be devoured by the swine, 
and of course in some degree contributed to the general weal 
of the good people of Oaborca. 

While Crabbe was besieged at Caborca a small party of 
about twenty men, under my Ranger comrade, Grant Oury, 
whose name I unfortunately omitted in naming the survivors 
of the Ranger company — Grant is now member of Congress 
from Arizona — started from Tucson to his relief, and reached 
the vicinity of the town just before the surrender, but could 
in no way aid him. They were surrounded by Mexicans and 
had to fight their way the entire distance to the American line. 
On his march Crabbe had left two sick men at a ranch on the 
American side of the line — men . who never saw Sonora. 
A party of Sonora chivalry came over and dragged these 
two sick men from their beds and brutally murdered them. 
There was one survivor of the Crabbe party, a boy named 
Evans, aged fourteen years, who was permitted to witness the 
butchery of his companions and to be present at the feast of 
reconciliation. In the summer of 1857 I met this boy Evans, 
from whom I learned the details above stated, and which I 
believe are in the main correct. The reader will lose no time 
in coming to the conclusion that Pesquiera was a very great 
villain, whose true merits might be given the meed of his just 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 223 

deserts only by a second Shakspeare — an ordinary pen would fail 
to do him justice. The true actor and superlative villain in the 
horrible conspiracy and tragedy was one Fernandez, whose full 
name I forget, but whose antecedent history I am quite familiar 
with, and will proceed to give it, although it carries me back to 
the first exploring expedition to the then unknown region in 
1844 by John C. Fremont. 

Fremont says in his narrative, (which I have not seen 
since 1850,) that on his way from Los Angeles to Santa Fe in 
1844, on reaching some springs somewhere in our present 
Arizona, he found a party of Mexicans recently murdered by 
Indians ; that one very small boy, four or five years old, had 
escaped the general massacre, and when discovered was cling- 
ing to the body of his dead mother and crying piteously. The 
sight of the dead mother and living infant excited such 
sympathy and indignation in the minds of the brave men of 
Fremont's party that Kit Carson and Alexis GJ-odey obtained 
permission to pursue the murdering savages, which they did 
(the two men only), following the trail for two or three days. 
They overtook, surprised, killed and routed the murderers, re- 
captured and brought back the horses of the murdered Mex- 
icans — one of the most brilliant exploits recorded in the annals 
of Indian warfare, and places the names of Carson and G-odey 
at the head of the column of American pioneer heroes. The 
little Fernandez was tenderly cared for, taken to Washington, 
adopted in the family of the great Benton, raised and educated 
as a gentleman. Attaining manhood'he came to Los Angeles, 
and afterwards went to Sonora. It was he who negotiated be- 
tween Pesqueira, the Ainzas and Crabbe, and procured the 
assistance of Crabbe for Pesqueira. It was he who negotiated 
the terms of peace between G-andara and Pesqueira, to be based 
on the massacre of the Crabbe party of Americans, and it was 
he who actad as chief butler and master of ceremonies at the 
feast of demons. Far better for the good name of humanity 



224 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

had Fremont been a day late at the scene of the murder of the 
boy's parents, in order that the jackals or vultures could have 
feasted on his infant carcass, and saved the world so great a 
shame. 

The exploits of the pioneer heroes of the former great West, 
to us the East, has been the theme of song and story, as will 
our history of Indian fights, adventures and escapes of the 
early pioneers of California in crossing desert and mountain. 
Having in this chapter made a digression to record that marvel- 
ous performance of Carson and Godey, it will be quite apropo 
to relate two wonderful adventures in digger-land as related by 
D. M. Adams, Esq., the biographer of A. W. Potts, Esq., who 
has been Clerk of Los Angeles County for so long a time that 
the memory of man runneth not to the contrary, a pioneer of 
'49, and one whom the people so love and honor, that he could 
be Governor of our great State but for his excessive modesty. 
Says his biographer: 

"One evening, along in July, 1849, the train to which young 
Potts belonged went into carnp on the banks of the Upper 
Humboldt. Not a stick of wood was in sight except on the 
opposite side of the river, which was running bank-full. Not 
even a handful of buffalo chips — the campers' last resort — 
<;ould be found. It was plain that the crowd would have to go 
without coifee, slapjacks and fried bacon, as matters stood. 
But on the other side of the river stood a perfect thicket of 
partly-burnt, dead willows — just the thing for a good camp 
fire. Young Potts, who always was an expert swimmer, 
proposed to strip off, swini across and get enough to boil coffee 
with. And he did so — that is, he stripped and swam across, 
after which (and being naked) he walked some distance to 
where the willows stood, fearing no danger, although they were 
right in the midst of the Shoshones. He had just commenced 
breaking some willows when from all sides and within twenty 
or thirty, yards arose a perfect forest of Indian heads, and 



REMINISCENCES OF A HANGER. 225 

simultaneously, a wild, blood-curdling war-whoop from a 
hundred lusty throats, burst upon the air, and the way 
young Andrew Wilson Potts almost jumped out of his skin 
(all he had on) and cut for that river, was a caution to the 
jack-rabbits and telegraph lizards of that delectable region. 
The startled sage-hen whirred away in alarm, and the usually 
happy horned toad stopped short in his amorous antics and 
gazed in petrified amazement at the spectral form flying by with 
the swiftness of the wind. He reached the river ; a plunge, a 
splash, and he was safely across, he hardly knew how. After 
reaching his own bank he ventured to look back, and there he 
saw a host of dusky maidens and warriors laughing loud and 
laughing deep, holding their very stomachs to keep from 
falling down, in their convulsive he-hawing. The aboriginal 
jokers of the desert had played it on him — had simply yelled 
to see him run — and were having their fun out at his expense. 
Of course they could have shot him dead at first if they had 
wanted to. 

" But A. W. subsequently got even on the redskin race for 
this practical business. After he had reached California, and 
had been here two or three years, he was engaged in mining on 
the Upper Merced. He and his partners had taken out con- 
siderable coarse gold from a bar in the stream, below which 
there was a very deep hole in the river. Some one suggested 
that a large quantity of the precious metal might have washed 
down and lodged on the bottom of this-hole, and it was finally 
determined to get a diving apparatus and prospect the dirt at 
the bottom. A diving suit of guttapercha, completely envelop- 
ing the wearer, with huge round glass eye-windows, and a tube 
leading up from the head to let in the air, having been pro- 
cured, one day one of the partners went down to bring up some 
of the dirt at the bottom of this deep hole, to see what was in 
it. Wilse sat on the bank holding the signal-string leading 

down to the diver. While thus occupied a lot of Indians, men. 
15 



226 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

women and children, came along. Thinking Wilse was fish- 
ing, and taking great interest in everything having little work 
about it, they, too, sat down to look on and see if he would 
catch any fish. After awhile a jerk was felt on the signal- 
string. One of the bucks who could talk a little English re- 
marked : " Heap big bite ; heap catch em big fish ! " Wilse 
nodded, and began to pull up. The Indians were all eyes and 
mouth in expectancy. But when the great, big, slick, black, 
devil-looking sort of a thing shot out of the water, with its 
great, round, glaring glass eyes, as big as saucers, words fail. 
A scream of terror, a yell of horror, and the Indian outfit dis- 
appeared as suddenly and mysteriously as though a ton of 
nitro-glycerine had burst in their midst and annihilated them. 
No Indian was ever after seen around that camp. One sight 
of the water-devil was enough." 

It is written that in the early services of George Washington 
an Indian exhausted his ammunition in firing at him, but was 
unable to hit his mark. That afterward the Indian told the 
illustrious George that the Great Spirit had reserved him for 
some special purpose, for some great good ; that he w?,s not to 
be killed by a bullet. We are safe in surmising that the gen- 
erous Potts in surviving those two remarkable adventures 
related by his biogragher, was reserved for much good to his 
fellow man, and in Mr. Potts, as well as in the immortal 
Washington, the same has been verified. We infer that in 
thankfulness to an eves protecting Providence in saving him 
from such dire danger the subject of the above sketch has 
almost devoted his life to the service of suffering humanity. 
His generosity is without limit. The Creator never made but 
one A. W. Potts. 




REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 227 



CHAPTER XVIII. 

More .filibusters — The Expedition of Admiral Zerrnau to Lower Califor- 
nia — " The Stern Admiral " —Gen. Blancarte Traps and Sends the 
Party as Prisoners to Mexico— Bob Baldwin — John Cullen — Smith 
and His Bloody Record — J-olm Temple and the Plan to Rob Him — 
His Vast Wealth— End of Smith. 




chronicler of the salient features of pioneer times 
thought he had disposed of all the filibustering expe- 
ditions that had in any degree been connected with 
our angel history. .But alas ! for human calculations ; he had 
reckoned without his host. After having disposed of the 
Flores expedition, the "twin republics" (our nearest neighbors 
and kindred), the unfortunate Gaston de Raousset and the ill- 
fated Crabbe, all of which required two chapters of truthful 
history, he congratulated himself and the reader on having 
reached the last of the filibustering angels, when lo ! the expe- 
dition of Admiral Zerman looms up and illumines his memory. 
The kind of an Admiral Zerman wa"s this historian will not 
vouch for, only that he was a Mexican Admiral, of Mexican 
fame, if not Mexican name, and as the unnautical editor of El 
Clamor Publico, in the times of the Crimean war, said of Rear- 
Admiral Bruce, so the writer declares of Zerman, that he was 
a " stern Admiral," for the reason that in point of achievement 
Zerman was certainly & long ways "astern" of any Admiral 
who appears on the pages of history. The only connection 
Zerman' s expedition had with Los Angeles was that it carried 
away three of our most esteemed angels, the first a gentleman, 
one of two brothers, Doctor and John Cullen. The Doctor was 



228 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

the pioneer in the wool trade of Los Angeles county, and John, 
a noble fellow, opened the first grocery and provision store in 
this City of Angels. His specialty was not a success, as our 
angels then, as now, had human appetites, and in addition to 
their fondness for Chile peppers, partook largely of imported 
articles in the provision line, so poor John fell a victim to mis- 
placed confidence and noble generosity, and got "busted" in 
business. That is to say, he believed in angel honesty, and 
gave credit to angels " to the manor born," as likewise to the 
gringo, and was thereby driven by a cruel destiny to close 
business, and cast his fortunes into the maelstrom of manifest 
destiny, and like thousands of noble spirits of the time, was 
swallowed up in its remorseless vortex. The next was young 
Bob Baldwin, a true son of an honorable ancestry ; that is to 
say, Bob belonged to one of the "first families of Virginia," 
and was a runaway from the University of that old State. 
When here Bob was about eighteen years of age, and was a 
firm believer not only in manifest destiny, but in his own star, 
believing that it was his peculiar destiny to become eventually, 
by some hook or crook, the ruler of Mexico. Poor Bob ! what 
has become of him ? I saw him at Vera Cruz in 1859 as a 
Lieutenant of artillery under Juarez, when that great defender 
of Mexican national integrity was besieged by Miramon. Bob 
had then been three years in the service, and had risen from 
the ranks, where he entered upon his release from his Mexican 
prison. He said when he reached a captaincy he would feel 
himself on the highway to the goal of his destiny. Poor Bob ! 
I fear he never reached it. The third angel who- went away 
with Zerman was Smith, and to distinguish Smith from all 
other angel Smiths, I will here assert that Smith was an. angel 
blacksmith, and worked for John G-oller and Jim Baldwin, on 
Los Angeles street, and was a very peculiar angel, and went 
filibustering just because it was born in him. Smith was a 
rover, out and out. Having met him in 1859, in Minatitlan, 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 229 

on the Coazacualcos River, the dividing line between Vera Cruz 
and Tabasco, and having known him here in Los Angeles, I 
gained his confidence, and not only obtained the history of the 
Zerman expedition, but his own private experience and exploits 
in California and elsewhere. He was the greatest rascal I ever 
knew, and as he told me so many peculiar circumstances con- 
nected with his own fortunes, after having told of the Zerman 
expedition I will relate a few of them — only a few of the least 
bloody ones. 

In October, 1855, the brig Archibald Grade sailed out of 
the Golden Gate, carrying Zerman and his foolish followers, to 
the number of about one hundred, bound for La Paz, which 
proved to be anything but a haven of "peace" to the great 
stern Admiral and his luckless expeditionists. Zerman claimed 
to have a commission from some high Mexican authority to 
rule Lower California, and on landing at La Paz presented 
his authority, sealed with the great seal bearing the sym- 
bolical nopal and Mexican reptile, to old General Blancarte, 
who ruled with a rawhide and laid the said rawhide on hard 
and heavy on all occasions. I say when Zerman presented his 
patent of authority and told Blancarte to get out, Blancarte 
called a file of ragged ruffians who collared Zerman, and Blan- 
carte told Zerman to get in, and he was accordingly tumbled 
neck and heels into the La Paz lock-up, where he signed an 
order for his followers to land without arms and form in front 
of the Quartel General, which being in due form accomplished, 
old Blancarte had the whole batch of fools securely ironed 
and sent in to keep company with their stern leader. The 
upshot of all this was that the whole party were finally shipped 
across the gulf to San Bias, and compelled to foot it all the 
way to the City of Mexico, each patriot carrying a chain 
fastened to his ankle and conveniently thrown over his shoulder 
by way of ornament. Smith, who was refractory to the utmost 
degree, was specially honored with a pair of the aforesaid 



230 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

chains, one on each leg, and fastened together in the middle. 
They were imprisoned in the City of Mexico, and kindly 
treated, long enough to enable the proper authorities to inquire 
the reason of their foolishness, when they were released, the 
most of them finding employment, those who were mechanics, 
among whom was our angelic Smith, being placed in the gov- 
ernment shops and foundries. Some took to the army, like 
poor Bob, others, following the bent of their inclinations, went 
to running their faces and playing monte, as had been their 
wont in this land of gold. 

And so ended the ambitious designs of the stern Admiral on 
our poor neighbors of Lower California, whose poverty alone 
should have been a sufficient safeguard against the cupidity of 
the adventurous knights of manifest destiny. May they ever 
rest in their poverty alone is the wish of this writer of 
reminiscences. 

Smith was a Maine man. I might have said " State of 
Maine," but why people should say State of Maine any more 
than they would say State of California, State of Kentucky, 
or State of Missouri, I could never understand ; but hereafter, 
as now, I will simply say Maine, just as I would say California, 
always leaving out "the State of" as three words too many to- 
express the same meaning. 

Smith was a natural born cut-throat, but otherwise honest, 
save in one or two particulars, which manifestly, and on all 
occasions cropped out. He left Maine suddenly, between two 
days, and left blood behind him. That is to say, some old 
man refused to permit Smith to wed his daughter. Smith got 
mad and killed the old man, and then left his country for his 
country's good. He got on board a lumber vessel about to 
clear for California, in 1849, and, concealing himself, until the 
vessel was three days at sea, made his appeal ance and begged 
to be permitted to work his passage to the golden land. The 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 231 

murder not having been heard of on board, Smith was quietly 
and willingly disposed of in the forecastle. 

As a sailor, however, Smith was a failure. He was insubor- 
dinate, and in constant broils, and while rounding Cape Horn 
knifed the second mate. As a consequence he made the 
remainder of the voyage to Valparaiso in double irons. The 
vessel dropped anchor in that great Chilian port at about dark, 
and about midnight Smith, having slipped his irons, slipped 
over the bow chains, dropped overboard, and swimming to the 
shore boldly struck out for the interior, and stood not on the 
order of his going till he reached Santiago, the capital, where 
he readily found employment in a government foundry. Form- 
ing a convenient connexion he lived happily until, coming home 
one evening, he caught his mistress in the very act of 
criminal infidelity. In a twinkling he stopped the wind of the 
luckless wight who had violated the sanctity of his garden of 
Eden, and then wrung the neck of the frail fair one as he 
would have wrung the neck of a Maine goose, and, leaving the 
two lovers to sleep the sleep that knows no waking, took up 
his line of march for Valparaiso, only killing one man on the 
road. He reached the port just in time to smuggle himself on 
board a steamer bound from New York to San Francisco. 

On his arrival he at once struck out for the mines, and 
brought up at Rough and Ready, where he killed a gambler 
who had cheated him, before he had been there a week. The 
fellow beat him out of his money at monte at a gambling 
house. Smith waited outside until the game closed, and when 
the gambler came out he struck him on the head with a stone 
and killed him instantly. He said thereafter three Mexican 
gamblers beat him by cheating, and he waylaid them one at a 
time and killed the whole trio. In the last he was discovered, 
fled, and was pursued from camp to camp with "hue and cry," 
but succeeded in reaching San Francisco and > went over to 
Marin island, then the penitentiary, where he found refuge, 



232 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

obtaining employ as a guardsman. Who would seek for a 
fugitive from justice among the guards of the State prison ? 

How long Smith remained in the employ of the State is not 
necessary to inquire. Suffice it to say that in 1852 he became 
a first-class angel, remaining here about two and a half years, 
and went away with Zerman. At Minatitlan Smi.h informed 
me on his honor that he had never killed any one in Los 
Angeles, notwithstanding, as he expressed it, he had " put the 
light out of at least a dozen while in California. However," 
said he, "I once went for old Temple's scalp, and but for an 
accident would have raised it, and made my pile to boot." 

This is the way it was : Old John Temple used to bleed this 
county at the rate of about $100.000 a year, money received 
from his immense sales of cattle, all of which he would carry 
to the City of Mexico for investment. Dave Brown, Smith 
and another prominent person determined to waylay Temple 
on his way to San Pedro, murder him if necessary, but without 
fail to secure his bags of gold. Temple would start in the 
morning about sunrise, and the arrangement was that Smith, 
Brown & Co. would leave town during the night and lay in 
wait in the high mustard down about Florence, stop Temple 
and rob him, convey the cash to the river bed and bury it in 
the water and sand, and wait and take their chances. For- 
tunately or unfortunately, as the reader may choose to regard 
it, about twilight on the eve of the contemplated robbery, Dave 
accidentally let his revolver go off on the sidewalk in front of 
the Bella Union and shot himself in the foot, a circumstance 
well remembered by many pioneers. A lucky shot for old 
John Temple, surely. 

Temple was at one time the richest man in Mexico. He 
almost owned the whole Mexican government; foreclosed a 
mortgage on the Mint at the City of Mexico, and coined money 
on his own account. He owned four hundred miles of sea- 
coast territory above and below Acapulco, was a brother of the 



REMINISCENCES OF 'A RANGER. 233 

late F. P. F. Temple, of La Puente, and was the cutest monte 
dealer that ever flipped a card for an angel to bet his pile on. 

I will now go back to Mexico and finish up Smith. Our 
gentle angels finished Brown before Smith left, as will be here- 
after and in the proper place fully related. When the Zerman 
prisoners were released in the City of Mexico, Smith, who was 
an excellent mechanic, was employed, as before stated, in a 
government foundry, where he formed the acquaintance of an 
English expert, who inducted him into the mysteries of coining 
money, and the partners were soon flush and bet their coin 
freely at the monte banks. It was only on Sundays and saints' 
days, however, when the foundry would be closed, that the 
twain would steal in, fire up, melt their metal and mould a 
supply of dollars. To the great honor of the saints, Smith and 
his pard had plenty of time in which to ply their vocation, 
only that the police were always vigilant to see that a proper 
respect was shown each particular saint, and to arrest any one 
who would profane the day by doing work. So on one occasion 
the police discovered and arrested the two worthies who were 
trying to turn an honest dollar, and on the following day they 
were roundly fined by the irate alcalde, who honored the saints, 
one and all. "Well," said Smith, with a grin, '-'we paid our 
fines out of the money we had struck off that day, and had a 
good stake to run on for a month or two." 

Times got so hot for Smith at the capital that he lit out for 
Vera Cruz, where the Mexican detectives shadowed him. So 
he sailed for Minatitlan, where he started a shop and did work 
for the mahogany cutters, but kept an eye open for an oppor- 
tunity to "shove the queer." One evening in the soft tropical 
moonlight in front of Jim Kawle's hotel in Minatitlan, while 
listening to Smith's bloody adventures and talking about Los 
Angeles, the Rangers, and of familiar persons, a portly looking 
Mexican walked past us and into the bar room. " D — n him," 
said Smith, " I know him, and will put his light out in less 



234 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

than a week." " Who is he?" said I, " Why," said.he, " he's 
one of them City of Mexico detectives and he's after me. I'll 
get him." Smith did get him in less than a week, by knocking 
him on the head and throwing him in the river. The steamer 
from Vera Cruz had arrived during the day on which the 
portly Mexican had come as a passenger. On the return of the 
steamer to Vera Cruz the author was a passenger, and saw no 
more of our Los Angeles journeyman blacksmith or of the 
mahogany cutters of the Coazacualcos. But in January, 1862, 
I met Jim Kawle in New Orleans and talked of matters in 
Minatitlan, and inquired for Smith. "Ah," said he, "two 
days after you left he killed a great Mexican detective, was 
arrested, taken to Vera Cruz, and shot at the castle of 'San 
Juan de Uloa." 

The reader will of course grieve after our lost angel, and 
lament our bad luck in losing a fellow citizen who, had he been 
spared us, might have become so conspicuously prominent. 
This truthful historian begs the reader's pardon in carrying him 
so far away, but why should so shining an example as the 
gentle Smith be lost to posterity ? 




REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 235 



CHAPTER XIX. 

Revolution — The California Spaniard — His Patriotism — The Great Gringo- 
Nation — John Raines— Guaclaloupe Sanchez — Organization of Patriots 
— The Plaza Occupied " Viva la Rcpublica " and " Death to the 
Gringos " — General Littleton to the Rescue — Raid on the Bella Union 
Bar — Mayor Hodges in the Field — Firing on the Plaza — The Gringo 
Phalanx Routed — The Mayor in a Bomb Proof — The Phalanx 
Triumphant — The Killed and Wounded — Dona Maria, the Lady 
Mayoress, in Peril — Littleton Relieves Her — The Last Outrage — The 
Angels Redeemed— " All is Well that Ends Well." 




California Spaniard was in the olden time an 
over average Christian and good fellow, full of jovial 
good humor, hospitable even to a fault, patriotic, 
liberty -loving, and jealous of the integrity of his native land to 
such degree as made him fly to arms and unfurl to the balmy 
breeze the standard of revolution on the slightest possible pre- 
text, and sometimes without any pretext whatever. In a past 
chapter I gave a truthful account of the sanguinary rebellion of 
the angels under Castro against the Mexican satrap, Michel- 
torena, culminating in the grand battle of Providencia and the 
improvident slaughter of that patriotic Mexican mule, the ex- 
pulsion of the Mexican tyrant from the sacred soil of California 
and the elevation of Don Pio Pico as the last of the domineering 
Dons, to be soon thereafter succeeded by the anti-revolutionary 
gringos. In those glorious old times before the coming of the 
gringo, revolutions were of ordinary happening and generally 
harmless. The soil of our angel land is fertile, naturally so. 
The soil of this beautiful land was never fertilized to any great 
extent by the blood of tyrants and their minions, slain by the 



236 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER 

irate sons of the soil in their resistance to the Mexican oppres- 
sor. Ante-gringo revolutions in California were as frequent 
and harmless as raids on hen-roosts in the sunny South at the 
present writing. Still the olden-time Californian could no 
more exist without his periodical revolution than he could 
without his bull-fight, his game of montc, his horse-race, or his 
gallos on St. John's day. The gringo nation is great, the 
affirmative of which this military scribe is free to maintain on 
horseback or on foot, with spear or pen, because he belongs to 
that immaculate race himself ; but there is an old adage which 
is as truthful as the writer hereof, and that is, that "the 
gringo spoils all other peoples with whom he is brought in 
contact." 

The noble race of California Spaniards has greatly deterior- 
ated by its association with the conquering gringo. The truth 
is, " the gringo spoiled him." He isn't half the man he was in 
the days of revolutions and rawhides. The author has hereto- 
fore referred to the Jack Powers revolution in Santa Barbara, 
and will hereafter relate the revolutionary effort of Juan Flores. 
But this most truthful chapter will be devoted to John Raine's 
revolution, which occurred in the city of angels in December, 
1852. Times wer« lively ; money was most abundant ; monte 
dealers and merchants were waxing rich ; the cattle market 
was buoyant. Fandangos and fiddling was the order of the 
day ; festivities throughout the land ran high ; everyone 
seemed happy, everybody was over-prosperous, and everyone 
ought to have been happy. The California Spaniard was the 
most prosperous mortal on the footstool, and should have been 
the happiest. He had everything his longing heart could 
crave, except his revolution ; that was his dearest and most 
sacred privilege, and the only one the generous gringo refused 
to accord him. When the gringo planted his liberty-pole on 
Fort Hill, he sealed the doom of revolution in California. Still 
the noble Dons pined for a revolution, as the Jews hungered 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 237 

for the flesh-pots of Egypt. Guadaloupe Sanchez, with a half- 
dozen hot-headed followers, raised the standard of liberty 
one beautiful summer's night in '52, occupied the plaza, fired 
off their revolvers, gave the grito de libertad and muere 
los gringos, got gloriously and patriotically drunk, trailed 
their banner in the dust, and so ended that revolution. John 
Raines was an untamed mustang, full of mischief, and up to 
all kinds of deviltry. The angel city was full of idle, wild, 
harem-scarem fellows, of the vagabond persuasion, who did 
little else than play at billiards, buck at monte, kill time and 
have a good time generally. No better material could have 
been found anywhere, and John concluded to edify the longing 
Spaniard with a revolution as would be a revolution. 

So the bold leader put himself about organizing. Two 
weeks were thus occupied. Two hundred men were enrolled. 
The utmost secrecy was observed ; not a soul but the initiated 
knew aught of the plot. Hodges was Mayor. The eventful 
night arrived as they always do. At midnight the revolution 
broke forth in all its fury. The plaza was occupied, and "Viva 
la Eepublica y muere los gringos" burst forth on the midnight 
air, rekindling the dormant fire that slumbered in the 
patriotic bosom of the slumbering Dons, and carrying dismay 
to the uninitiated and surprised Gringo awakened from his 
sleep by this pandemonium let loose. In fifteen minutes fifty 
indomitable gringos under Jim Littleton stood in defiant 
phalanx in front of the Bella Union, determined to maintain 
gringo supremacy, even if they sacrificed the last bar-keeper 
and bottle in all angel-land. A detail was accordingly made 
to raid the Bella Union bar, and another to hunt up the Mayor 
to take command and oppose the uprising. In due time both 
objects were accomplished, and wine flowed as wine had never 
flowed before, and whisky was free. By this time the gringo 
lenient was awake; the clatter "of cavalry resounded on 
the midnight air as they dashed up and down upper Main 



238 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

street. A hurried council of war resulted in the. conclusion 
that the cabildo and the court house would be the first objects 
of attack. So armed gringos were hastily thrown into those 
places. The jail on the Hill was also occupied. Then the 
Littleton phalanx, leaving a reserve at the junction- of Main 
and Commercial, with a picket at Commercial and Los Angeles 
streets moved bravely to the plaza, the Mayor marching 
valiantly at the head of the column ; he however suggested 
that Jim Littleton should be the commander in action, and 
should be entitled to all the honors consequent on victory, 
while he, the Mayor, would be present and sanction any and 
all measures necessary to an effectual suppression of the revolu- 
tion. Reaching the corner of the plaza where the Pico House 
now stands, the Littleton-Gringo-Phalanx were received by a 
scattering fusilade from all quarters of the plaza, with the 
battle cry of the revolution: u Viva Mexico y mueran los 
gringos," and a stentorian voice roared out " rodealos, 
rodealos," anda "cavalleros!" (surround them! surround them !) 
and the clatter of cavalry was heard going through Nigger 
Alley like a tornado, which causes the General to order the 
phalanx to fall back, which it did in quick time, as the ques- 
tion was which would reach the Baker Block corner, first — the 
rebel cavalry or the gringo phalanx. Intermediate between 
the plaza and Arcadia street, stood at that day the first monu- 
ment of gringo enterprise, a brick culvert, which ran diagonally 
across the street and was about forty feet long, four feet wide at 
the base, and forming an arch, which was just high enough to 
admit a person in a low, stooping posture. Now that old cul- 
vert was a most infernal nuisance, being frequented by vagabond 
Indians as a place of convenience, which rendered the interior 
thereof unpleasantly odorous. General Littleton, finding that 
the cavalry would reach the objective point first, came to a sudden 
halt at the culvert, and seizing the Mayor by the arm, said : 
" Hodge, it's our only chance; get in. quick; we're cut off, 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 239 

sure." To hesitate was, as the Mayor thought, certain death, 
so into the culvert went the chief gringo of this semi-gringo 
city, hearing the ^honors of the great gringo nation on his hroad 
back. His honor was safe, and the phalanx, dividing itself, 
took position at either end of the Mayor's bomb-proof, and 
opened a defiant fire on the exultant rebels, who now charged 
them on all sides. The conflict was terrific ; the din of battle 
was fearful. Above all could be heard the lion-like roar of 
Jim Littleton as he urged the phalanx to stand their ground 
and "Remember the Alamo," and let the last man die rather 
than yield. The Mayor was safe. He was as snug as a bug 
in a rug, and never a word did speak, until an immense gringo 
cheer announced victory to the phalanx, and a few scattering 
shots gave proof that the rebels had been repulsed. Then his 
honor emerged from his place of refuge and rejoined the victori- 
ous gringos with the inquiry, " How many are killed ? " "Are 
we all right, Jim ?" Then the commander ordered the phalanx 
to fall back on the reserve at Commercial street — an order easier 
given than executed — as the wounded were so numerous that 
the movement was consequently slow and painful. Several 
were left dead, or apparently so, at the culvert, the Mayor sug- 
gesting that "no further harm could befall the poor fellows." 

Samuel Arbuckle's store at the corner of Commercial and 
Main was the gringo headquarters, and the back rooms thereof 
were converted into a hospital, whither the Mayor was con- 
ducted. On entering all the horrors of war presented itself 
to his terrified gaze. Surgeons with sleeves tucked up, bloody 
bandages: wounded men, groaning in agony, lying around 
everywhere, while every minute some poor fellow would be 
brought in by his comrades in a desperate condition. The 
doctors had their hands full. 

Some one said to Doc. Jones, "The Mayor is wounded; why 
•don't you attend to him ? " upon which said suggestion two 
or three sympathetic attendants laid hold of his honor with 



240 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

a view to removing his coat and vest, when all at once they 
hold up their hands to the light and commence an examination 
thereof, with exclamations of " P-e-w ! Great eternal polecat, 
where has he been ? ISTo blood ! but what ? " Then " the 
most useful man" put in, "Why, Hodge, what -does this 
mean? It's awful." "It is that infernal culvert," responded 
his honor. "Them d — d injans; I always wanted the Coun- 
cil to abate that culvert as a nuisance, and by the holy poker, 
if I live, and if we savo the city, I'll bet they don't use that 
culvert for that purpose again. But it was a fortunate thing 
for us to-night, sure." Then his honor bethought himself of 
Dona Maria, the fair and frail sharer in the dignities and 
profits of the Mayoralty. The lady Mayoress was in imminent 
peril, and might fall into the hands of the rebels. Dona 
Maria dwelt near the plaza (at present a fair dame of Los 
Angeles street), and she must be rescued at all hazards; but 
who would take the risk — the danger was great ; yet the 
attempt must be made, Littleton called for volunteers, and 
five heroes stepped forth from the phalanx ready to immo- 
late themselves on the altar of chivalry; and with an assuring 
word to his honor, the brave fellows, with Jim at their head, 
set forth on their mission of gallantry. They were gone an 
hour, during which time desultory firing, cheers, vivas and 
carajos were heard all over the city, and the Mayor was in 
awful suspense concerning the lady Mayoress. Every few 
minutes some bleeding victim of the revolution would be 
brought in, and the doctors had their hands fu,ll. It was now 
near daylight and at last Jim Littleton came in with the lady 
Mayoress, who was received with every demonstration of 
delight by his honor, the Mayor, whose first inquiry to the 
weeping lady was, "Ah, Querida mia, they have hurt you." 
whereupon the lady turned bitterly upon Jim Littleton with 
the exclamation of "Ah que sin verguenza/' (You shameless 
vagabond.) Dona Maria had fallen a victim to the fury of the 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 241 

revolution and the Mayor was as mad as a hornet. Daylight 
dispels the sombre shadows of night. The orb of day gilds 
the Eastern horizon. The verdants hills smile in beauty when 
kissed by the morning sun. Peace reigns supreme in the 
Angel City. The night of disorder is succeeded by the morn- 
ing tranquility. The trembling sefiora peeps timidly forth 
from her window expecting to see the prickly pear flag of Aztec 
land floating from every adobe Avail in the redeemed city, but, 
alas ! nothing of the kind is to be seen. Grave Dons and fright- 
ened gringos appear on the streets to inquire for the dead, but 
no dead are to be found, unless, perchance an over-patriotic 
gringo was found dead drunk. No blood was to be seen any- 
where. Was all this a dream ; certainly there was no reality 
in it. The Mayor went to the culvert and found no blood, 
notwitstanding when he retreated from that glorious battlefield 
•only six hours ago the ground was covered with dead heroes. 
Men whom he had seen under the surgeon's hands in the 
agonies of mortal pain, now smilingly greeted him with, 
" Hello ! Hodge, old boy, how goes it ? " Their recovery had 
been miraculous. His honor would willingly believe it all to 
be a nightmare only for the queer accident that had happened 
to Maria, and he was certain there was no nightmare about that. 

It was a sell, an out and out sell, gotten up by John 
Raines and Jim Littleton to sell the town generally, to sell 
the Mayor in particular, and to relieve the general monotony 
of the California Spaniard, and gladden his heart with a first- 
class revolution. 

Revolutions are not revolutions without their usual concomi- 
tant of outrages, and of course there must of necessity be 
some kind of an outrage to give respectability to our present 
one. So Jim Littleton, to carry out the simile, had perpetrated 
the last outrage of revolutionists on Dona Maria, the lady 
Mayoress of the City of Angels, which was all that was real in 

the whole affair. 
16 



242 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 




CHAPTER XX. 

Bull Fights — Romance of Spanish-American Conquest— Gran Fund on de 
Toros — The Gran Toreador — Plaza dc Toros — The Debut of Don 
Jesus — " The Bravest Man in the World " — A Furious Bull — A Des- 
perate Encounter — The Lazadores, Picadores and Banclerilleros — The 
Gran Toreador Gets a Raise— The Battle Over — The Gringo's Revenge. 

A,HIS historical Ranger in his juvenile days and before 
visiting this semi-Latin land, had been an ardent and 
enthusiastic student of Spanish history, and was a 
great admirer of the chivalry of the race, the high tide of whose . 
civilization had, before the Mayflower was wedded to the salt 
sea wave, penetrated to the very heart of what is now the 
United States;:, of the marvelous achievements of the Great 
Conquistador and his handful of followers, whose unparalleled 
audacity led them into the very jaws of a powerful and cruel 
despotism, there to assume the role of dictator, was so wonder- 
ful that to my mind the words " Spanish Cavalier " meant all 
that was brave, enterprising and chivalrous; of the deeds of 
Vasco Nunez, Pizarro, and others of minor note in the sub- 
jugation to the dominion of the cross, the vast empires of 
Darien and Peru filled my mind with the highest possible 
opinion of the descendants of those mighty adventurers; while 
the insane wanderings of Ponce de Leon and ])e So to seemed to 
give the only true romantic tinge to our own matter of fact 
conquistorial history. So when the chronicler made his advent 
into this old-time Spanish capital, this angel city, handed over 
to the rule of the Saxon, he was prepared to admire anything 
that had the glare and glitter of Mexico or of Spain, as well 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 243 

the rodea, the annual execution of that ancient rapscallion 
Judas Iscariot, the cock-pulling feats on St. John's Day, the 
Maromas, the fandango, the sanguinary encounters between 
bulls and bears, and more important than all, the bull fights, 
wherein man, the image of his Creator, boldly enters the 
gladiatorial arena to meet in mortal combat the noble lord of 
the animal kingdom, the untamed bull. Therefore, soon after 
my induction into angel society I was raised to the seventh 
heaven of delight in beholding the announcement in largely 
lettered placards, "Gran Funcion de Toros, el Domingo 
proximo a las tres a la tarde;" (grand bull-fight on Sunday 
next at 3 o'clock,) with a list of the renowned Dons who would 
participate on that important occasion, with a great flourish 
about a very brave and eminent Don bearing the name of 
"Jesus," who was represented to be the most intrepid of all 
the toreadores who had carved their names on the temple of 
fame for heroic deeds done in the Plaza de toros of the City of 
Mexico. This important announctment was made about mid- 
week, and immediately thereafter active operations commenced 
and a great fever of excitement possessed the angel mind, 
gringo as well as native. Great speculation was indulged in 
as to who the mighty hero bearing the Holy Karne could be, 
and every stranger Don felt complimented when some knowing 
one would suggest the possibility of his being the "gran 
toreador" from "la capital de Mexico." On Saturday the 
arena was complete — a fence built of green willow posts set 
in the ground to which were lashed, with raw -hide thongs, 
stout poles forming a circle about forty feet in diameter. On 
one side elevated seats were arranged, one above the other, in 
theatrical style, fur those who were to pay ; while the rabble 
had the privilege of peeping through the poles without price. 
At one end of this improvised dress circle, a canvas enclosure 
was made for the accommodation of the toro and the toreador, 
the lazadores, the banderilleros, the picadorcs, and the master 



244 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

of the arena, in order that they might be obscured from vulgar 
eyes until their grand entrance into the arena of blood and 
battle. In order that the bull and bull-fighters might meet as 
utter strangers, and on the theory that familiarity breeds con- 
tempt, a rag petition divided the belligerents. On the right 
flank of the dress circle are seated, on an elevated platform, the 
musicians, who discourse Mexican national airs, while, to the 
great disgust of the grand marshal, the gringos possess the 
poles of the willow fence, smoke their cigars, and are all on 
the tip-toe of excitement, and this truthful historian is carried 
back in imagination to the geography pictures he used to gaze 
at with such reverential awe in his school-boy days. " Now," 
thought I, " we are to behold a bull fight such as were formerly 
seen in glorious Madrid," and my excitement knew no bounds. 
The music ceases, and the herald proclaims the grand entry. 
The canvas door is thrown open, and the lazadores, with gilt 
and glitter, spangles and spatters, lance and pennon, mounted 
on elegantly-caparisoned, high-mettled steeds, enter, followed by 
the picadores a pie, and the banderilleros and the matador, all 
radiant in green silk, tinsel and stripes. The brilliant outfit 
are all, in glittering array, ranged before us, save and except 
the "gran toreador" and the toro, which in rude Saxon means 
Jesus and the bull. The music bursts forth in patriotic and 
warlike strains, the sefioritas wave their handkerchiefs, and the 
rabble cry "viva!" Again the herald waves his baton of 
office, the music stops, the sefioritas cease from waving, 
the rabble discontinue their vivas, and the gringos maintain 
their grave demeanor, smoke away, and whittle on the green 
poles. The herald now proclaims that " the greatest, most re- 
nowned and famous bull fighter, either living or dead, the hero 
of more than a thousand bloody fights, the champion of the 
world, will now make his entrance before this august assem- 
blage." Two ushers now divide the canvas door, and the music 
don't play "Hark! the Conquering Hero Comes," but it plays 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 245 

something of equal grandeur, and the "gran toreador," as 
though disdaining the earth upon which he trod, enters the 
arena, faces toward the sefioritas, places his right hand upon 
his heart, makes a profound sala'am, and is greeted with a 
shqwer of bouquets. The' gentlemen ushers respectfully pick 
them up, bow to the sefioritas, bend the pregnant hinges of the 
knee to Don Jesus, who haughtily makes the about face, bows 
patronizingly to the gringos and the peons and pelados, and 
speaks: " Soy valiente" (I am very brave); " tengo mucho 
honor" (I have a great deal of honor) ; a que es de vivir sin 
honor ? " (why should one live without honor ?) ; a es mejor a 
morir valiente que vivir sin honor" (it is far better to die game 
than to live with a taint upon one's honor). "I am the 
bravest man in the world, of which you shall have due proof 
when you see me encounter the most ferocious bull that could 
be found on the thousand miles' expanse of California plain. I 
am ready to conquer or die," and Don Jesus bowed to the 
herald. 

The two ushers now very carefully approach the bovine cor- 
ner, and remove a barricade of rawhide ropes, the music again 
bursts forth in martial strains, and the ferocious bull of the 
California plains makes his debut, not with wild and flashing 
eyes, distended nostrils, tossing head and high-waving tail, but 
as gentle-looking, mild-visaged an old ox as ever tugged at a 
creaking Mexican cart, with eyes as honest and sleepy as a 
crocodile's, with head neither erect nor depressed, tail dangling 
in an old-fashioned, ox-like way between his legs, and still 
worse than all, the poor old fellow's head bore signs of the 
recent lashings of a Mexican yoke, and his honest old horns 
were sawed off so near his head that the blood slowly oozed and 
trickled in honest indignation at the outrage. When this 
tough veteran entered the arena the music played, the "Pon- 
chada," the peons and the pelados yelled, the gringos grinned, 
and the sefioritas looked disappointed. Don Jesus, to prove 



246 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

bis valor, rushed in front of his disarmed adversary, and wav- 
ing a red flag in his face, said tauntingly, " Ha, Toro ! " which 
didn't disturb the ox in the least. Then a banderillero 
manoeuvred around, and flung a rosette dart, called a ban- 
derilla, into the old gent's flank, which didn't seem to discomfit 
him, only being a gentle reminder of his old acquaintance 'the 
goad. Another bariderilla strikes him in the other flank, and 
one in the rump, and the old fellow looks around innocently, 
as much as to say, "Weil, did I ever?" all of which time 
" the bravest man in the world" flaunts his red flag in front of 
the bull and yells " Toro ! " A lazador now makes a dash at 
the bull, seizes him by the tail and sloughs him around, and a 
banderilla is stuck into him, to which is attached a string of 
firecrackers, and a brave picador valorously fires them, and 
another picador bounces on his back, a^d Don Jesus kicks him 
on the nose, at which act of daring the peons and pelados 
" viva ! " and the poor old ox loses his patience and makes a 
rush at "the bravest man," who runs and climbs over the 
fence, and a lazador has the old boy by the hind leg with his 
lazo, and another by the fore foot, and before the old ox can 
tell what he is about they stretch him roughly upon his back, 
and the banderilleros fill his body with rosette darts and fire- 
crackers, and the old fellow is permitted to regain his feet, by 
which time he is again confronted by the "bravest man" with 
his red flag, and the banderilleros cover his flank and rear and 
ply their cruel darts and crackers, and the bull makes another 
dash at Don Jesus, who this time nimbly dodges the bull and 
springs upon his back, at which the sefioritas scream with 
delight, the peons and pelados yell themselves hoarse, the 
drums roll and rattle, the fife screams, the horns toot, and the 
flute and flageolette give forth sweet sounds of victory; the old 
ox strikes a ga'lop, and the "bravest man" turns a back 
somersault and gracefully alights on his feet, and again con- 
fronts his bovine foe. 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 247 

. By this time the gringo part of the audience have become 
friendly to the bull, so called, and somewhat disgusted at the 
cruelty of his tormentors, and in English they discussed the 
situation and conclude, at the first favorable opportunity, to 
make a diversion in favor of the bull. Of course what they 
said and proposed to do was wholly unknown to the Dons in 
the arena, who did not understand English. So the next time 
the honest and tormented old ox made a well-directed charge 
on the "bravest man" and he attempted to climb over the 
fence, Cy Lyon, who was seated thereon, gave the august, the 
disdainful, the proud, the champion toreador, a well-directed 
push with his foot, which he planted solid in the pit of Don 
Jesus' stomach, which landed him fair and square on the gory 
horns of the bovine hero, whose eyes now flashed livid fire of 
rage, his nostrils dilated, emitting foam and blood, his tail 
erect and waving, head so low that his nose touched the 
ground, he looked the very incarnation of victory, and seemed 
to throw all of his immense strength into one grand,' revengeful 
toss of the head, and we all thought for sure that the grand 
toreador was imitating the cow that jumped over the moon. 
It was certainly the biggest raise that Mexican ever got in his 
life. The going up was awful, but the coming down ! well, 
Don Jesus, the champion bullfighter from " La Capital de 
Mexico/' was a month recovering from the immensity of the 
shock. It was said he suffered great damage, and it was over 
a month before he could resume his duties of stewing carne, 
making hash and slinging pots, for such was his every-day avoca- 
tion, oh ! reader ! and when this painted and bespangled hero, 
this champion bull-fighter from the City of Mexico, this gran 
toreador, was divested of his tinsel and stripes, his spangles and 
spatters, his red embroidered jacket, his green breeches and his 
red hose, his jaunty cap, and his gorgeous parti-colored sash, 
when his face was washed of the dust of the bull-pen, of the 
blood that freely flowed from his eyes, nose and ears, and the 



248 KEAI1NI8CENCES OF A BANGER. 

thick coating of paint, this ass in lion's disguise turned out to 
be John O. Wheeler's cook. When poor Jesus went up the 
Lazadores made a rush for the infuriated ox, who was now a 
formidable monster and eyed Jesus as he went up and coolly 
waited for him to come down, and in a moment they had him 
on the ground as harmless as a lamb, and so ended the "gran 
funcion de toros;" and so ended my romantic idea of a Spanish 
bull-fight, and so ended the glorious career of Don Jesus, the 
gran toreador in the bull-pens of this ancient angel capital, 
and so endeth this story. It is only fair to say, however, that 
none of the respectable Spanish ladies and gentlemen of Los 
Angeles patronized the bull-fights. 

The gringos were sold, badly sold, beaten. A gringo is 
willing to beat but is always averse to being beaten, and the 
gringos determined to avenge themselves upon the Dons for 
having so disappointed them in their anticipations of a grand 
bull-fight, and soon the opportunity offered. 

We had ti humorous genius among us, Frank Ball, a great 
practical joker, who determined to sell the Dons in revenge 
for their imposition in the -bull-fight. Frank accordingly 
bought an old and used up mustang, had him. elaborately 
blanketed and stabled at Pete Rohrer's, where Ferguson & 
Rose's stables now are, and advertised in English and Spanish, 
in all the newspapers and by great posters, that on a certain 
day he would start from San Pedro and make a voyage to 
Santa Catalina and back, on horseback; that he would ride 
the great swimming horse Hippopotamus, a horse of a peculiar 
Kanaka breed who had swam all the way from the Sandwich 
Islands to San Francisco. That for the period of ten days 
prior to this great marine-equine performance, the great swim- 
ming horse could be seen in his stall and examined, in order 
that people might satisfy themselves that in appearance Hippo- 
potamus was the same as any other horse. Admission, 50 cents; 
ladies,half price; children free. The Star, and Wheeler's paper 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 249 

puffed Hippopotamus and lauded Frank Ball's great enterprise 
in having procured this great amphibious curiosity for public 
inspection and edification. The consequence of all this was 
that there was a great run on Hippopotamus, and four-bit 
pieces fell in plentiful profusion into Frank's coffers. The 
Dons came in crowds to see this marine monster. Vaqueros 
from the country examined him, the patrons of the bull-pen 
planked down their coin, and the sell was a financial success. 
But how was Ball to get out of his promise of making his 
voyage to Santa Catalina, thirty miles and back? He got out 
of it by having some one abduct Hippopotamus on the night 
previous to the great swimming performance, made a great fuss 
about it, pocketed the coin and avenged the gringos for having 
been so sold on the bull fisht. 




250 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 




CHAPTER XXI. 

Bears and Bear Stories— Lassoing the Grizzly — Jim Bogg's Bear Fight- 
Col. Wm. Butts— "The Southern California!! "—Butts and Wheeler- 
Bulls' Encounter With a Grizzly — Andy Sublette and the Bear — 
" Old ' Buck " — Andy's Last Fight— Victory and Death— Andy's 
Funeral — Old Buck Dies from Grief— Queer Freak of an Old Grizzly 
— Fred Staccr's Adventure — Bill Bradshaw and Nelse Williamson — A 
Bad Wound. 



THE time of which I write, early in the '5Qs, grizzly 
bears were more plentiful in Southern California than 
pigs ; they were, in fact, so numerous in certain locali- 
ties, as Topango Malibu, La Laguna de Chico, Lopez and 
other places, as to make the rearing of cattle utterly impossible. 
Those ferocious brutes were the terror of the aboriginal tribes, 
and dreaded by the California Spaniard, whose only weapon of 
offensive warfare against them was the riata and lance, more 
commonly called in gringo parlance the lazo. 
• When burly bruin, in quest of came, would boldly emerge 
from his lair in the fastnesses of the Sierra and make his ap- 
pearance on the plain, he ran nine chances out of ten of losing 
his scalp. When beset by three or four lazadores, he was most 
generally overpowered and spitted, and this is the way in 
which that most wonderful feat, lassoing a grizzly, was per- 
formed by those most formidable men on horseback, whose 
likes will never more be known — the California ranchero. 
When seen on the open plain, a party of (he most intrepid, 
cool-headed, well-mounted and expert lazadores surround him. 
Bruin, finding himself 'corraled, seats himself upright on his 
haunches, and takes the defensive position of the pugilist. A 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 251 

lazador now approaches him and swings his riata. There must 
be no mistake about it ; the bear must be caught by one of his 
fore feet. That is the first thing to be done. Bear in mind, 
reader, the monster may be of 2000 pounds weight, and if 
caught around the body or neck, he takes hold of that riata 
and draws in the horse and rider hand over hand, as easily as a 
fisherman would draw in a catfish. The coil of the lazo 
describes a rapid circle, whizz ! whirr ! Bruin's eyes wall from 
side to side in the vain endeavor to know where the blow is 
about to fall, and his two immense arms gyrate wildly, as 
though he intended to make the right, left, front and rear 
parry at one and the same time and motion. Whizz, whirr, 
whirr, whip, goes the riata, and lord grizzly is caught by the 
fore paw. In the twinkling of 'an eye, whhz, whirr, whip, goes 
another riata, and the astonished monster is caught by the 
other fore foot. He now angrily, and with gnashing teeth and 
terrific growls, stands erect, and waltzes around like a grena- 
dier ; but the next thing he knows, ivhizz, whirr, whirr, ivhip, 
and a riata tightens on his hind foot, and before he can enter 
his growling protest he is caught by his other hind foot, and is 
tripped up and falls heavily upon his back, where he struggles 
desperately for life ; but four well-trained horses, and four cool- 
headed, fearless riders, with their terrible riatas are too much 
for him, and in a few minutes the monster, with groans and 
growls, with heaving chest and dilating eyes, surrenders at 
discretion and lies on his back as helpless as a child. Where- 
upon he is approached by one or two lookers on and is dis- 
patched with their lances. 

This is the way grizzly bears were captured and slain in the 
olden California times, a dangerous performance surely, for 
even now with needle guns and Winchester rifles it is a 
most hazardous undertaking to attack a bear, and whomever 
does it runs more risk of life and limb than he would ever have 
ran at Shiloh or Antietam. I could relate many sanguinary 



252 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

encounters with grizzly bears in early times and will now relate 
a few that are more fixed in my mind. 

The first of which I remember was that of Jim Boggs of 
Sonoma county, in 1850. Jim was out one day with a com- 
panion and espied a goodly-sized grizzly grazing along on the 
green sward. Jim's partner, being somewhat dextrous in 
throwing the lazo, caught the old boy around the body. 
Whereupon the bear took a seat and quietly drew in the man 
and horse, and most unfortunately the end of the riata was 
tied to the saddle. The horse struggled to escape, the saddle 
WHS turned, the rider fell off and was caught by the bear, and 
by some means or other the horse freed himself from the 
saddle and ran away. Boggs finding his companion in the 
terrible toils of the monster drew his revolver and bravely 
approached, placed the muzzle against the side of the bear's 
head and fired. The bear at once released the man, who took 
to his heels and left Jim and the bear to fight it out. Jim got 
in one more shot and then the bear pounced upon him and 
killed him, as the bear thought. Finding himself in the mon- 
ster's clutches, Jim pretended to be lifeless, was only consider- 
ably bitten and torn to pieces. The bear left him and started 
away. Jim said, U I turned over a little, raised my head, and 
there went the old bear, licking her chops, but just as I raised 
my head she turned her eye and we looked each other square 
in the face for an instant, when the bear turned around and 
sprang upon me just as I've seen a cat spring upon a mouse. 
It took my whole face in its mouth, and crushing the bones, 
slung me around and shook me until I was senseless, and for 
many days it was quite unnecesary for me to make believe dead, 
because I was on the very doorstep of eternity." Jim was 
horribly mangled, bones broken generally and the flesh in places 
literally stripped from his limbs and body. 

Colonel William Butts was, in '54 and '55, senior editor of 
the Southern Californian, published under the firm name of 



I 

REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 253 

Butts & Wheeler — John O. Wheeler being the associate editor. 
The paper was most ably conducted, and edited with a degree 
.of ability rarely exceeded within the limits of the State. Butts 
was an adopted son of the great Thomas H. Benton, and had 
served as an officer in the regular army, a daring spirit who 
always courted danger and sought adventure, was in '53 the 
hero of a bear fight, the most remarkable of which I ever had 
knowledge. It happened in San Luis Obispo county. I 
believe it was at the ranch of Captain Wilson that a party was 
made up to kill an immense grizzly who would pick up a full- 
grown cow and walk away with her in his mouth, with as much 
ease as a mastiff" would carry a rabbit. Butts was the only 
one of the party whom I knew, and as he was the hero, is the 
only one to be mentioned. The grizzly was found on the 
edge of the plain near a chaparral, and was immediately 
attacked by the hunters who lodged several balls in his body 
with which he escaped. The party commenced to beat the 
bush to get the bear out, and against the remonstrances of all 
Butts followed the bear's trail into the thicket. The trail 
soon entered the dry, gravelly bed of an arroyo and was easily 
followed. Butts had followed the bear's track for about a half 
mile when suddenly he lost it. Being confused he .stopped to 
deliberate, and was standing within a few feet of the bear that 
had lain down in the shade of a clump of chaparral on 
the side of the arroyo. With a great growl it sprang 
upon him so suddenly that he had no possible chance of 
using his yeager, but as he went down under the ponde- 
rous weight of the bear he got his hunting knife out of 
its scabbard, and then the mortal strife commenced. Butts 
declared that he never lost his presence of mind, but endeavored 
to stab the bear in its vital parts, and that time after time he 
thrust his eight-inch blade to the hilt in the bear's body as it 
stood over him biting and tearing him with its claws. Butts 
said "the last sensation I had was the brute dragging itself 



254 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

over me, and "its entrails trailing across iuy face." A half 
hour later the two combatants were found — the bear dead, 
Butts torn into pieces and apparently so. After examination 
showed that the bones of his face were so crushed that he was 
disfigured for life ; the bones of his left arm and right leg 
were fractured in several places ; some of his ribs were crushed 
in, and his body and legs were literally cut into strips. 

It turned out that the bear had been severely wounded by 
the shots fired into it, but not mortally; that Butts' knife had 
twice penetrated the lungs and once entered the heart, and that 
an incision was made in its bowels nearly a foot long. A 
litter was hastily constructed and poor Butts was carefully 
carried to the ranqh, a surgeon sent for. and then some of the 
party with some Indians and a Mexican cart and oxen went for 
the bear which, after an immense amount of difficulty was 
successfully transported to the ranch, skinned, cut into pieces, 
and when weighed pulled down 2100 pounds avourdupois — 
almost incredible to believe. 

We had a bull and bear fight here in Los Angeles in '54. 
The bear was a half-grown young fellow, and would have 
weighed not exceeding 500 or 600 pounds. Colonel Butts went 
to the arena to take a look at the combatants prior to the 
fight. After examining the bear critically he turned away, 
remarking, " Well, if I couldn't whip that bear in a rough-and- 
tumble, I wouldn't consider myself anything in a bear fight." 

Although possessed of considerable capital, and with a rare 
editorial ability, the restless spirit of the gallant Butts must 
find a more prolific field for 'adventure, than the dull times that 
fell apace upon California in '55 and '56 afforded, so with a 
legion of others of like spirit he went to Nicaragua to uphold 
the flaunting flag of manifest destiny, and was there so 
wounded and riddled with bullets that after his return to Ohio, 
the place of his birth, he died thereof. The City of Angels 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 255 

never had in her firmament a brighter star than the brave and 
talented Butts. 

In '54 Andy Sublette was mortally injured by a bear in one 
of the canons near Santa Monica. I believe it was the Malibu, 
commonly called Malaga, and preliminarily I must state who 
Andy Sublette was, and then how he came to be killed. • There 
were three brothers of the Sublette family, Bill, Andy, and the 
other one's name I forget, Andy being the only one known to 
me personally. The Sublettes were Rocky Mountain princes, 
leaders among the mountaineers of the times anterior to Fre- 
mont's explorations, the Mexican war and the golden crusade 
to California. They were the founders of Fort Laramie, from 
which stronghold they dictated terms of peace to the haughty 
tribes of the Rocky Mountains, and declared war when war was 
more to their fancy than peace. The Sublettes sold Laramie 
to the American Fur Company, of which one of the Cheauteaus 
of St. Louis was chief. That Company, in '48, I believe, sold 
the fort to the United States, and it has since then been main- 
tained as a military post. What memories of romance and 
adventure cluster around that romantic and historic place, in 
the spur of the great mountain chain ! Emerson Bennett, in 
his inimitable pictures of Indian life, casts a halo of interest 
around Laramie that is perfectly enchanting. It is a beautiful 
and romantic spot situated on the west bank of the Laramie 
fork of the Platte, a few miles from its confluence with the 
latter stream. In June, '50, on our journey hither we stopped 
at Laramie for a week and cut om* wagons up and made them 
into pack-saddles, and traded our fine American horses to Kit 
Carson for. Mexican mules preparatory to encountering the great 
barrier. Well, as I before said, Andy Sublette was a Rocky 
Mountain princes, and in addition thereto was a natural born 
gentleman, with manners as refined, gentle and polished as 
though he had never been beyond the confines of the most 
cultivated society, and I may say almost the same of all that 



256 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

old first-class Rocky Mountain Men, — they were peculiarly 
sedate and quiet in their manners. Andy had only recovered 
from severe injuries received in an encounter with a bear at 
Elizabeth Lake when in company with Jim Thompson he went 
on a bear hunt that was to be his last. Somehow or other he 
became separated from the party and found a grizzly and shot 
him, but before he could reload the fierce brute was upon him. 
Poor Andy! it was his last fight, and gallantly did he main- 
tain his former renown. His faithful dog, "old Buck," was 
with him, and the two fought, Andy with his knife and old 
Buck with the weapons furnished by nature, and gained the 
victory over the mountain king. When Thompson found them 
the bear lay dead, Andy was insensible and "old Buck," lascer- 
ated in a shocking manner, was licking the blood from poor 
Andy's face. Tenderly were the two, man and dog, brought to 
the city and comfortably lodged and cared for in the Padilla 
building, the present U. S. Hotel corner. For many days the 
struggle between life and death was fierce. Sometimes Andy 
would get the better of the grim destroyer only to be again 
driven to the wall. Old Buck was as tenderly cared for as was 
his gallant master, Jim Thompson, with his great, good heart, 
watching night and day by the bedside of the two heroes, 
while other friends stood ready to assist. Old Buck lay on a 
nice pallet at the side of Andy's bed. When his master was 
unconscious the old dog would almost break his heart with 
piteous, subdued moaning, and when Andy in his delirium 
would imagine himself still fighting the bear and would 
say "seize him, Buck," "at him, old fellow;" "we'll get 
him yet," and like expressions, old Buck would raise his lore- 
paw on the side of the bed and would give a bewildering growl. 
Finally death came out first best, as he always does, and poor 
Andy was one of the first to be interred in the Fort Hill 
cemetery. Old Buck rode in the wagon that took Andy to his 
last resting place, he and Jim Thompson being chief mourners. 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 257 

About every gringo in the place turned out at Andy's funeral, 
and it is safe to aver that there was not one person who left 
that graveyard with tearless eyes, on account not of the 
loss of a gallant man, a friend and Christian 'neighbor, but 
for the doleful distress of poor old Buck, who utterly refused 
to bb comforted and to be removed from his dead master's 
grave. So there he was left to exhaust his grief, which we all 
thought he would do in a little while. Twice, and sometimes 
three times a day, Jim Thompson and other kind-hearted 
friends would take Buck food and drink, and tried in vain to 
induce him to leave the grave. The faithful old dog refused to 
be comforted, refused to eat or drink, and on the third day he 
died, and was buried at the feet of his dead friend and master. 
Does the reader believe that dog had a soul worth saving, a 
soul that was saved, or that when old Buck died of grief, when 
his great heart was broken, that that was the end of the brave, 
faithful, honest old dog ; or that when Gabriel sounds his 
resurrection horn, that the spirit of Andy Sublette will be re- 
united in a happy hunting ground with the spirit of his faith- 
iul friend ? Quien sale ? We will see. 

Bears are sometimes peculiar as well as dogs, and one of the 
most peculiar and funny freaks of a bear I know of is the fol- 
lowing, which is a well-known fact, and the infantile hero of 
this bear story was a well-known and prominent man in our 
country, quite recently deceased. Well, the story is to this 
effect : A ranchero who dwelt near the mountain's base, near 
our angel burg, had a wife and one child, a little boy about 
three years old. The husband was absent one day, as was his 
daily habit, looking after his herds, and the young wife, leaving 
the little Vicente to manage his own affairs, went to the spring 
to wash some clothes, being absent about an hour. When she 
returned what was her alarm and horror to find an immense 
grizzly playing pranks and cutting up rustics with the infantile 

Vicente, the two seeming to be on terms of the most affection- 
17 



258 REMINISCENCES OF A UANGER. 

ate intimacy. The old bear would lay on her back, and would 
hold the little fellow up in her great paws, and would toss him 
around and tenderly hug him, and the little Don would scream 
with delight, so pleased he seemed to be with his new-found 
friend. What was to be done was the absorbing question in 
the mind of the poor mother, so the only thing she could do 
was to pray to the saints to deliver her boy ; but the boy did 
not want to be delivered, and the two newly-made and strange 
acquaintances continued their gambols until near the close of 
day, when Madame Osa, leaving little Vicente, who was fain to 
follow, took up her line of march for her home in the Sierra. 
The anxious mother lost no time in securing the youthful rene- 
gade, who had conceived so strange an affection for a bear, and 
who in later years was wont to speak of his mamma La Osa. 

Fred Stacer, now a wealthy farmer in Indiana, when here in 
early times was quite a boy in years, but one of the most cun- 
ning woodsmen and formidable hunters I ever knew. Camp 
wherever we might, Fred would sally forth with his old 
Mississippi rifle, one that he had picked up on the gory field of 
Buena Vista (the truth being that as a boy he had accom- 
panied Gen. Joe Lane to Mexico in the capacity of Orderly), 
and in a little while he would return with a supply of venison. 
Fred was also a bear hunter, and had on more than one occa- 
sion come out first best in a bear fight. One time a party of 
us were encamped in one of the many mountain valleys of our 
beautiful coast range, and Fred as usual had gone out with his 
gun. In due course of time he came in, limping along in a 
doleful plight, his clothes torn in tatters, his face, arms and 
body sciatched and clawed in a fearful manner ; in fact he was 
dreadfully used up, but as he said in response to our anxious 
inquiries, "Boys, I'm pretty badly whipped, but not quite 
done for." He then told us he had killed a young grizzly, and 
that tne old bear mamma had got hold of him. He said he 
was walking along down on one side of a steep descending ridge 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 259 

or backbone, and suddenly came upon two young grizzlies, and 
shot one of them dead. Hastily reloading his rifle he took 
after the other, which ran along the mountain side in a horizon- 
tal line, which soon brought it and also its pursuer to the 
backbone or summit of the ridge. The cub had from the first 
set up a terrific squalling, and it so happened that the old she 
bear had been on the opposite side of the ridge when her first 
cub was killed, and followed in the direction taken by the 
frightened young survivor. The result was that the old she bear, 
Fred Stacer and the cub all met on a converged line. When 
the old bear saw Fred she ran back a few paces, stopped, looked 
at him for a moment, and then commenced to walk deliberately 
toward him. Fred knew he could hit her directly in the eye, 
so he quietly awaited her approach until she got within ten 
feet of him, when he pulled away, and lo ! for the first time his 
gun missed fire. He had forgotten to put a cap on the tube. 
As quick as a flash the old bear sprang upon him, and the two 
commenced to roll down the steep mountain side, Fred strug- 
gling to escape, and the bear plying teeth and toe-nail as best 
she could. The further they went the more rapid became their 
motion, and finally the two plunged over a perpendicular, rocky 
precipice more than fifty feet high, and lodged in the top of a 
live oak tree that grew at the bottom. Fortunately when they 
struck the tough but yielding branches of the tree Fred Avas on 
top. and lodged, and held on for dear life, while the bear went 
crashing through to the bottom, and thus was the luckless and 
lucky Nimrod delivered from the clutches of the mountain 
monster. Leaving poor Fred in camp, we proceeded to the 
place of encounter and found the dead cub, the rifle, and then 
descended the rugged mountain side to the precipice and the 
place where the old bear had fallen, but she was gone. 

One more bear story and this subject will be disposed of. 
In February, 1855, a party consisting of Aleck Beli, Zack 
Moore, W. T. Clark. Nelse Williamson, the author, and that 



260 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

famous ante-bellum pioneer and ex-officer of the Fremont 
battalion, Bill Bradshaw, who gave name to the Bradshaw 
District in Arizona, were prospecting for placer gold on the head 
waters of Kern River. One day Bradshaw was out on a hunt, 
had an encounter with and a narrow escape from a grizzly. 
Bill was a very cool and brave fellow but excessively nervous, 
and sustained in addition to considerable physical injury, a great 
nervous shock. We were camped in a thicket and at about mid- 
night were awakened by a shot and cry of distress from the brush. 
Springing to our feet, to our horror we found that Bradshaw 
had shot Williamson, who had quietly arisen and had retired a 
few paces into the bushes. Bradshaw hearing him, sprang up, 
rifle in hand, and having nothing but grizzly on his mind, 
and imagining the noise in the bushes to proceed from a 
bear fired, and shot poor Nelse through the body. We then 
had to carry the wounded man on a mule litter more than one 
hundred miles to Fort Tejon, where he received the first surg- 
cal assistance, and a few months thereafter was brought to Los 
Angeles, and lingered on the very door-step of eternity for two 
or three years and finally recovered, being now, in 1881, 
nearly eighty years of age, hale, hearty and happy, and except 
a difficult limp and painful recollection, has nothing to remind 
him of this my last bear story. 




REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 261 




CHAPTER XXII. 

Parker H. French— His Grand Overland Expedition From San Antonio de 
Bexar — Capture of the Expedition at El Paso — French turns Robber 
and Brings Up in the Durango Prison — His Arm Amputated — Is a 
Guest at the Bella Union — Goes to San Luis Obispo and Gets to be a 
Senator — His Antics— Sells and Mortgages His Constituents' Ranches — 
Turns Up in Nicaragua — Minister to Washington — Is Kicked Out of 
Nicaragua and Turns Up Again a Prisoner of State in Fort Lafayette — 
A Dangerous Confederate ^py. 



iLOISTG about May, '53, a most remarkable character 
hung up his hat at the Bella Union for a brief period 
and then turned his face westward for the upper coun- 
try, making a halt of sufficient length of time in San Luis 
Obispo to have himself elected to the Legislature and to play 
hob generally with the honest Obispoans. Had this most enter- 
prising individual domiciliated himself in our terrestrial paradise 
there is no telling to what distinction he might have attained. 
However, he scorned to be an angel and with the angels dwell, 
and as before stated honored the good people of San Luis with 
his gringo presence. The ardent adventurer now brought 
before the reader was the renowned Parker H. French, by 
many known as one-armed French, and when he hung his hat 
on the hotel peg of our venerable Bella Union, his said hat 
and his very limited wardrobe generally had the musty srnell of 
a Mexican prison on them. The old hat and damaged dry 
goods soon went to the gutter, and Parker arrayed his well- 
formed person in elegant vestments, and made a dashing hotel 
figure daring his brief stay in Los Angeles. 

Our hero was a gifted man, and one of his peculiar gifts 
was his ability to beat tailors and dry goods men. Hotel 



262 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

keepers were his special delight. Our Jew-merchants were 
generous, jovial and jolly. Either Lazard, Morris, Kalisher 
or Kohn would sell the most seedy newcomer a suit of raiment 
and trust to his honor or good luck for their pay. These 
guileless Hebrews must have cast a vast amount of bread 
upon the waters in those, pioneer times, which I fear me will 
never return to them. I am sure that whoever it was that 
arrayed the ragged French in rare cloth and fine linen never 
got so much as thank you for their pay, for be it known 
Parker's rarest gift was ingratitude. So whenever a person 
sold anything to him he, the vendor, sold himself at the same 
time. 

Notwithstanding, when Parker made his appearance in our 
Angel City he was as penniless as a preacher, it cost a million 
dollars to get him here, as well as having cost him his good 
right hand, which he was so fain to use in appending other 
men's names to his own paper. French was an Illinois man, 
and in the spring of '49 made his appearance in San Antonio, 
Texas, with a letter of credit from Howland & Aspinwall, of 
New York, for $750,000, and at once set himself at work to 
organize an overland passenger train to the land of gold. In a 
space of time, so brief that the good people of Bexar had no 
time to marvel at the marvellous manner which marked the 
movements attending the organization, the hitching up, and 
the hauling out of the most magnificent passenger train that 
ever took its departure westward from that famous starting point. 

One hundred splendid ambulances, to which were attached 
six hundred beautiful mules, in splendid harness; in each am- 
bulance were seated a driver and six passengers — each passenger 
paying, in advance, the sum of two hundred and fifty dollars, 
passage money to Sacramento City. Accompanying this beau- 
tiful train were baggage and provision wagons, a .herd of extra 
mules, and horses, with a corps of cooks, herders and hunters, 
with Quartermaster, Commissary and Wagon Masters, mounted 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 263 

men as outriders, flanquers, videttes and rear guards, with 
pomp and parade, with flags flying, music and song, and to the 
melody of 

" Oh, Susanna, don't you cry for me," 

This brilliant train of ardent Argonauts clattered through the 
narrow streets of San Antonio de Bexar, and made its first 
day's march to Castroville, thence, ho ! for California ! Every- 
thing went as merry as a marriage bell until the train arrived 
at El Paso, when lo ! a military cavalry guard from Texas 
overhauled the train, with orders to capture and detain the 
property of the expedition, and arrest French and send him 
back to San Antonio. 

With his forged letter of credit, French had drawn on How- 
land & Aspinwall for near a million of dollars. The assist- 
ance of the Government had been evoked, hence the military 
pursuit and order of arrest, as above set forth. Parker H. was 
not to be caught napping — he was too sharp for that — he rallied 
around him a few desperadoes, resisted the military, and suc- 
ceeding in crossing the Rio Grande into Mexico with quite a 
following of mounted men, and struck out for, and, without any 
serious mishap, reached the City of Chihuahua, and there rested. 

Many of the deluded passengers found their way on foot, and 
as best they could, to San Diego and Los Angeles, others were 
cruelly murdered by the Apaches in their vain endeavors to 
accomplish that journey, while still many others managed to 
get back to Texas, and thence found some other way of reaching 
our golden shores, and a few discouraged, remained in New 
Mexico, or drifted over into the Latin-Aztec Eepublic. In my 
early mining experience I was in company with a Dr. Jackson, 
a Mr. Wm. Hazeltine and "Yank" Bartlette, the latter now 
residing in Arizona, and the only living person of whom I have 
any knowledge who was of that rascally-romantic unfortunate 
passenger expedition. From those gentlemen I learned the 
facts as I now give them. 



204 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

French was in Chihuahua out of money and could not raise 
a dollar, and with his party undertook to rob his way to 
Mazatlan, and the whole batch brought up in the ])urango 
Mexican prison, where, in an attempt to overpower the guard, 
French had his arm shattered at the elbow with a musket ball, 
several of his comrades were killed in the attempt, all were 
overpowered and French's arm was amputated in the prison. 
Whatever became of those men I never knew; one Malcom was 
released and reached Los Angeles in '52, and started the first 
livery stable in the city at the place where now the north-east 
corner of Central block, belonging to the Lanfranco family 
stands. French regained his liberty — how I never knew — reahed 
Los Angeles in '53, and when the Legislature met at Vallejo 
the same year, Parker handed in his credentials as Senator and 
so seated himself. He however gave little attention to matters 
legislative, but gave a great deal of attention to selling and 
mortgaging the ranchos of his constituents to San Francisco 
money-lenders and speculators. He soon disappeared from 
halls legislative, and from places speculative, and to the general 
consternation of the credulous and confiding Obispoans, their 
Senator, by forged powers of attorney, had sold and mortgaged 
about every ranch in the county worth the trouble. Where 
the Senator went to the devil only knew, and was never 
more heard of till he turned up in this way. When Walker 
was in Nicaragua in '56, a lake steamer with passengers from 
New York to San Francisco in passing over Lake Nicaragua 
was fired into from Fort San Carlos, then held by the enemies 
of the Walker-Rivas government in Nicaragua. French was a 
passenger, but whether bound fbr San Francisco, or had come 
out to join Walker is of little moment ; suffice it to say the 
steamer lay to and Parker raised a crowd of roughs who were 
on board, took the boats, landed, and with their revolvers 
stormed and captured the fort and forced the garrison to lay 
down its arms and surrender at discretion; for which act of 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER 265 

gallantry the Walker-Rivas Government sent him as " Envoy 
Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to the Government 
of Washington." With his Filibuster credentials this enterpris- 
ing vagabond presented himself to Secretary Marcy, and with 
the cool audacity of a Tallyrand demanded the recognition of 
his Filibuster-Manifest-Destiny Government of Nicaragua. 

Marcy, in language forcible but politely diplomatique, in- 
formed Mr. Envoy that if he did not clear out and vamose the 
capital, and hie himself to his own country, he would have him 
handed over to the authorities as an offender against the laws 
of the land. So Parker took the hint and vamosed the 
ranch, cleared out, cut stick, and returned to Nicaragua, 
threatening war and dire vengeance on perfidious Yankeedom. 

When, on his return, the illustrious Envoy presented himself 
at the National Palace in Nicaragua, his ardor was somewhat 
cooled, and his threats of vengeance were modified, when 
Walker, the great Filibuster chief, who was chagrined at 
French's failure, took him roughly by the shoulders, faced him 
about, and kicked him out of the country. Where he went to 
thence we may, if we so desire, inquire of Old Nick, for surely 
Parker belonged to him ; but in 'f>9 he played some pranks on 
the people of Mississippi, which caused him to suddenly shake 
the dust of that State from his fleeing feet, and hie him thence 
for fields prolific. That was the last of Parker, so far as any 
one knoweth or careth to know, except the following : After 
the battle of Antietam, in which the author participated, and 
after three campaigns in Virginia and one in Kentucky, Ten- 
nessee and Mississippi, I went to New York City recruiting, 
for recreation, pleasure, rest, and a general good time, so much 
enjoyed by a soldier on leave. Well, I went down to see 
Boston, and to visit my old and gallant scouting comrade in the 
first campaign of the war, J. W. Gordon, Major of the llth 
U. S. Regulars, and commanding Fort Warren. I also visited 
Fort Lafayette, and saw the prisoners of state, among whom it 



266 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 



grieved me to find several well-known Californians ; and more 
important than all, I found the Illinois store clerk, the Texas 
forger of a million of dollars, the bandit in Mexico, the Bella 
Union guest in Los Angeles, the San Louis Obispo Senator, the 
Nicaragua "Envio Extraordinario y Ministro Plenipoten- 
tiario," Parker H. French. I inquired how he came there, and 
was informed that he had been arrested as a most dangerous 
and enterprising spy of the Southern Confederacy. And so 
endeth the author's knowledge of this remarkable character, and 
so endeth this chapter, devoted to his transcendant and mis- 
guided genius. 




REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 267 




CHAPTER XXIII. 

John Glanton and His Chihuahua Scalp Hunters — Mustang Gray and 
His Ranger Protege" — Glauton and His Rangers Reacli Chihuahua — 
Treat With the Chihuahua Governor —Apache Scalps for Two Ounces 
Each — Ben. Riddle and John Abel — The First Campaign— Grand Suc- 
cess and Golden Reward — The Second ^ Campaign — A Mistake in 
Scalps — Flight of the Rangers — Arrival at Jesus Maria — The Mexican 
Flag "Outrage — The Second Flight — Arrival at Tucson — The Place 
Besieged by Mangas Colorado — The Rangers Save the Place— Great 
Joy of the Inhabitants — The Last Camp — Massacre — The Two Browns. 

TELEGRAM. 

PASO, September 23d, 1880 :— " Governor Tarrasas 
offers a reward of $1,000 for the scalp of Victorio." 

On reading the above it occurred to the mind of the 
chronicler hereof that Chihuahua's Governor should use a care- 
ful discrimination, and make sure of the identity of the scalp 
referred to before he paid out his coin, or he might be cheated, 
and get one other than that of the celebrated Victorio. Deal- 
ing in scalps is a dangerous business, as the sequel will show. 
Those who have read Jere Clemens' " Mustang Gray," will re- 
member that the hero of that book (a real character) was a 
noted Texas Ranger, that he had a boy protege, John Glanton 
by name, whom he instructed in all the mysteries of Indian 
fighting, hunting, trailing, lassoing mustangs, and scalping an 
occasional Mexican, whose appearance failed to favorably impress 
the two heroes. At fifteen years of age, John was one of the 
most noted Rangers on the frontier; at sixteen he was Captain 
of a Ranger Company, and as such served through the Mexican 
war, and won great renown as a scout. Sometime during the 
summer of '49, Glanton, at the head of a party of desperate 



268 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

adventurers, left San Antonio overland for California, leaving 
behind him a newly wedded wife, a most estimable and highly 
cultured lady, of one of the best families of that romantic 
frontier city. The expedition, in due course of time, arrived 
in Chihuahua, and halted for recreation and pleasure. At this 
time the Apaches were peculiarly bold in their raids, murdering 
citizens and desolating villages and outlying ranches. They 
had become so annoying that the Governor of the State had 
offered two ounces ($32) for each and every Apache seal}) taken 
bj any one whomsoever. 

Glanton and his party proposed ji campaign, but had not the 
necessary means of procuring supplies. At this juncture Ben- 
jamin Riddle, a merchant and American Consul, and John Abel, 
an American resident, patriotically supplied the cash ($2,500) 
on the venture, and being thus supplied with the sinews of war, 
Glanton lost no time in preparations, and was soon on the war- 
path. The campaign was brief, bloody and brilliant, and pro- 
ductive of a bountiful supply of scalps. 

The Apache warriors, accustomed to cope with the unwieldy, 
half- starved, ill-paid and poorly armed Mexican troops, whom, 
if unable to whip, they could always elude by their celerity of 
movement, were taken completely by surprise by this new foe, 
who carried a pair of six-shooting pistols of that terrible old 
Texas pattern in their holsters, and a navy at their belt, their 
only arms, except the bowie. Well mounted, thoroughly trained 
in the arts of Indian warfare, of such esprit du corps as led 
every man to do his utmost to excel his comrades in the carni- 
val of blood, Glanton and his Rangers made an easy campaign 
and a brilliant success. 

Returning to Chihuahua they were publicly received at the 
Governor's palace, marched under triumphal arches, delivered 
their scalps to the government agent, received two doubloons 
for each scalp, were feasted, feted and made the lions of the 
town in that gay Mexican capital. Fandangos, gambling and 



REMINISCENCES OF A BANGER. 269 

carousing succeeded for the month following, and the restive 
Hangers were ready for another campaign. So confident had 
the authorities become that they gratuitously furnished sup- 
plies for the second campaign, and the scalp-hunters were again 
on the war-path. This second campaign was more brief and 
productive than the first, and the good citizens of Chihuahua 
congratulated themselves, leturned thanks to the saints, feasted 
the Rangers, and believed the period for exterminating los 
barbaros had finally come. Shortly after the second campaign 
it was whispered around that Mexican rancheros had been 
killed and scalped by foes other than the Apaches. Matters 
became dangerously suspicious, and the Rangers were on the 
alert. 

The trouble with the authorities of Chihuahua was the diffi- 
culty of distinguishing between the scalp of an Apache and 
that of a Mexican. The Rangers who remembered the Alamo, 
Goliad, and other places of Mexican outrage and blood, hated 
the Mexican more than they did the Apache, and, as with 
them, it was a question of dollars and cents, and not of either 
love or patriotism, had found it more convenient and less 
hazardous to raise the hair of a Mexican than that of an 
Apache, and such was the product of the second campaign. 

The Mexicans are a gentle people, and have more virtue 
than the "Barbaras del Norte," — which means us blue-blooded 
Americans — ever gave them credit for. They are not an excit- 
able people, and as a people are hard to raise ; but when once 
raised, as they were on the memorable cinco de Mayo, they 
are more irresistible than the hurricane or the piercing norther 
that sweeps their favored land. Once raised they are a fury. 
As a people they were not raised against the American inva- 
sion of 1846. As a people they were raised against the French 
and Austrians in '61 -'67, and astonished the world with their 
deeds of devotion and of heroism. 

When Glanton and his Rangers heard the murmur of 



270 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGEH. 

the coming storm, they, dissembling innocence, prepared to 
escape it and flee the wrath to come, that is to say they quietly, 
and in the hour when honest people seek their pillow and 
thieves do go abroad, saddled their well-fed chargers and cut 
stick for the shores of the western ocean. 

Pursuit was organized, but too late ; the bloody scalpers had 
escaped. They had secured safety by their well-timed depart- 
ure and the fleetness of their horses. 

The next we hear of Glanton and his desperate band is at 
the mining town of Jesus Maria, in the northeastern part of 
Sonora, where Messrs. W. T. B. Sanford, afterward of Los 
Angeles, and Frank Carroll, he who kept the whisky mill in 
the priest's cottage residence at S.m Gabriel, were the only 
American traders. The Glanton party held high carnival 
during their short tarry at this obscure Mexican village, which 
the simple minded poblanos bore with their usual patience 
until Glanton perpetrated the last outrage, which raised a 
second storm, from which the festive fellows were again glad to 
escape by taking to their heels and plying spur. John Glanton 
rode into the quartel, hauled down the Mexican flag, tied it to 
a mule's tail, lashed the mule into fury and turned it loose in 
the town. The Rangers escaped the fury of the outraged 
populace, so did Sanford and Carroll; but the two latter 
escaped on foot, leaving behind them, to the fury of the mob, 
their stores, accumulations of hard years of toil and danger, 
and barely got away with their lives. Arriving at Tucson, the 
Rangers found the place besieged by the renowned Apache 
chief, Mangas Colorado, the place being defended by a handful 
of frightened Mexican soldiers, a few old men and the boys, 
the able-bodied men having gone in a body to the new Ml 
Dorado in California. 

The Rangers rode through the Apaches into the beleaguered 
town and joined its frightened defenders. Mangas Colouuli. 
then sounded a parley, and with seveial of his chiefs met 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 271 

Glanton under some cotton-wood trees, at the little cienega 
east of, and just outside the town. 

The great chief — and the Apaches never had a greater than 
Mangas — expressed his surprise at the Americans assisting 
their enemies, the Mexicans, and fighing against those whom 
they should treat as friends and allies. Glanton, however, 
informed him that Americans always defended the weak, and 
that unless the arrogant chief and his barbarous horde should 
depart before sunrise the following day, the Americans would 
turn loose their "saddles" on them, meaning in the expressive 
Apache dialect their holster pistols, a something the Mexican 
cavalry never carried. Mangas said he would not fight his 
amigos, the Americans, but proposed that if permitted to 
slaughter seven bullocks to be furnished by the Mexicans, and 
feast his warriors thereon, in the Plaza of Tucson, and to drink 
mescal himself with the American chief, while his warriors 
were so feasting he would depart in peace. He said he did all 
he could to restrain his braves from killing Mexicans, as a 
general thing, as contrary to his policy; "For," said he, "if 
we kill off the Mexicans, who will raise cattle and horses for 
us ? " The proposed plan was agreed to and the programme 
carried out to the letter, the Rangers preserving an armed 
neutrality in the meantime, after which Mangas Colorado, 
which means Red Mantle, quietly withdrew his barbarians and 
departed. Then came another carnival of joy. The grateful 
Tucsonians plied the Rangers with every comfort and delicacy 
that their poor town afforded, refused them nothing, and the 
old men wept and the women wailed when their chivalric 
deliverers departed. This was the last act of American man- 
hood performed by that brave band of abandoned men. 

Arriving at Yuma, they found a^'solitary American, who 
kept a ferry-boat, and an immense number of Indians, camped 
at and near the crossing. The poor ferryman, after crossing 



272 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

the party over, was murdered by some of the band, because he 
persisted in his denial of having aguardiente or mescal. 

Dave and Charley Brown, the two survivors of Glanton's 
band, informed the chronicler of the termination of this bloody 
ride. The party camped on a grassy flat on the west side of 
the river, just below the crossing, and quietly passed the night. 
Early in the morning the camp was astir preparatory to resum- 
ing their line of march over the great desert. 

The two Browns had, at early dawn, gone to the ferry-boat 
with camp-kettles to procure water with which to cook break- 
fast. While they were at the river the Ranger's camp was 
secretly surrounded by the Yurua Indians, under old Pasqual, 
a venerated chief of to-day, who, to avenge the murder of their 
friend, the ferryman, massacred the whole party, save only 
Dave and Charley, as before stated. When the camp was at- 
tacked they, with well-timed judgment, quietly boarded the 
ferry-boat, shoved into the stream, and floated down the river 
wholly unobserved by the Indians, who supposed they had 
killed the whole party. After descending the stream a few 
miles, the two survivors landed, filled their camp-kettles with 
water, and started westward across the desert, and after un- 
paralleled suffering arrived at San Diego, in a condition little 
better than walking skeletons ; and such is the history of John 
Glanton and his Chihuahua scalp-hunters, and such was their 
deplorable end. 

The two Browns were not of kin, Dave being a red-headed, 
good-natured American, while Charley was a quarter-blood 
Cherokee. Dave was hung at Los Angeles in 1854, by an 
irate mob of California Mexicans, most of whom were his 
personal friends, and hung him only in vindication of principle. 
That is to say, the Americans of the Angel city were in the 
habit of amusing themselves by hanging some luckless Mexi- 
can, and the Mexicans wished to show that they could play at 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 273 

the same game, and so seized on poor Dave as a fit subject for 
demonstration, apologized for the liberty they were taking with 
him, which Dave laughingly accepted, and was then swung up. 
Dave had always lived the life of an unprincipled fellow, he 
died in vindication of a principle, that is, to show that the 
native Californians knew how to hang a man in the most 
approved gringo fashion. 

The other Brown also fell a victim to principle. He went to 
Nicaragua under the banner of manifest destiny, and died in 
vindication of the principles thereof. 

Poor Dave set a most beautiful example to the young people 
who witnessed his interesting taking off. He said he had com- 
mitted a great many crimes, but not of sufficient magnitude to 
deserve hanging. The only great crime he had ever seriously 
contemplated was running for Councilman of our pure and 
lovely municipality, and should he have done so, and been 
elected, and have served, then "I would have felt that I deserved 
death ;" but fortunately, said Dave, in going into the presence 
of the great Judge, I can at least claim that I was never either 
Mayor, or member of the Los Angeles City Council. Alas! poor 
Dave, his crimes were many, but these last mentioned were not 
charged up against him in the "kingdom come." 

Some years ago the writer was in San Antonio, where he 
frequently met a pale, sorrowful-looking, elderly lady, accom- 
panied by a younger one, the latter very beautiful, both in deep 
mourning, one the widow, the other the daughter of the reckless 
Olanton, the Chihuahua scalp-hunter. 




18 



274 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 




CHAPTER XXIV. 

McFarlaud — The Election of '53 — Jurupa — Agua Mansa Again — Sharp 
Skirmishing for Votes— Rubideaux — "Can a Nigger Vole in Califor- 
nia?" — He Votes — The Mormon Stockade — Bishop Crosby's Hotel — 
Cook — One Vote for \Valdo-Quile a Skirmish — Alcalde Brown — Mor- 
mon Justice — Pegleg Smith — His Camp in the Rocky Mountains— He 
Goes to the Spanish Country for Horses — Raid on Los Angeles Ranches 
:— Jim Beckworth — The Gringos Block the Game. 



ONE of the early chapters of these most reliable 
reminiscences mention was made of McFarland and his 
connection with J. G. Downey in the drug store, then 
the only one in the Angel city, and as I have a story to tell 
in which Mac played a part, it will be in place to inform 
the reader who and what our present hero was. Doctor J. P. 
McFarland came from Tennessee in '49, and after one year 
of roughing in the mines, came here and formed a partnership 
with John G. Downey (the honored ex-Governor of Califor- 
nia), who had preceded him by a half year or more. McFar- 
land was a graduate of Jefferson College, a perfect specimen 
of the American backwoods gentleman in physical appearance, 
manners and general get up ; in fact what we call a first rate 
fellow, and a politician withal. In '52 we sent Mac to our 
ambulatory capital as Representative, and in '53 we promoted 
him to the high dignity of Senator, and he might have gone 
higher but for having introduced a bill that would have been 
productive of much good, and was in reality a step in the 
right direction, notwithstanding it was a rear step in our 
onward march of civilization. As before stated, in the years 
referred to there were thousands of Mission Indians in South- 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 275 

era California who stood in the ante-room of ruin. To save 
them, and to make them useful to the country, in place of 
becoming vagrants, McFarland introduced a bill in the Senate 
to have all the young Indians apprenticed, the boys until they 
were twenty-one and the girls eighteen years of age. The bill in 
its general provisions was substantially the same as the present 
law of apprentices, but unfortunately for the bill and its 
author it contained the word Indian, when lo ! a torrent of 
newspaper wrath was hurled at the bill and showered on the 
head of poor Mac, which made him feel that the most unfor- 
tunate day of his life was that which made him a Senator. 
"McFarland's peon bill," so designated, was made to appear 
'•'the most glaring, bare-faced and outrageous attempt ta 
engraft the barbarous peon laws of Mexico on our free insti- 
tutions." Mac served his time out in the Senate, came home 
and attended to his private business. The Indians, boys and 
girls, became vagabonds and our free institutions and John 
Brown's soul go marching on and McFarland is an honored 
and wealthy resident of his native State, and if not reminded 
by these reminiscences of the fate of the Mission Indians, may 
have forgotten all about them. 

In '53, when Mac was a candidate, and when Los Angeles 
county included San Bernardino, he invited the author to ac- 
company him to Jurupa, Agua Mansa and San Bernardino on 
an electioneering tour, which said invitation being duly 
accepted, the two of us, well mounted, set out, making the 
hospitable house of Col. Williams, at Chino, our first stopping- 
place. From thence we proceeded to Jurupa, where we arrived 
the day preceding the election. Then it was that Mac informed 
me that he had a little precinct staked out that required hi& 
personal attendance ; that the *' most useful man," having so 
admirably succeeded at the presidential election of the preced- 
ing year, he felt the precinct well worthy of his individual 
attention, and that he had conciliated old Louis Rubideaux r 



276 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

and depended on me to enlist Lieut. Smith, of the Jurupa 
military post, to go . with me to look out for his interests in 
the then Mormon stockade camp at San Bernardino. With 
these dispositions we retired for the night, and went to sleep 
listening to a lecture from Rubideaux on his Anglo-Norman 
ancestry, their domiciliation in the Rocky Mountains, the 
exploits of mountain men in Indian righting, of Bridger, of 
Carson, G-odey, Sublettes, of Jim Beckworth, and of Pegleg 
Smith. I may, in the course of this history, repeat what I 
remember of the Anglo-Norman-Rocky-Mountain-American 
lecture, and the part of it referring to old Pegleg in particular, 
for the reason that I had three years theretofore the distin- 
'guished honor of enjoying the hospitality of the renowned 
Pegleg in his Rocky Mountain camp. When old Louis finished 
his lecture, his bottle and pipe I never knew, but morning 
came, and with it election day, and in due time the Senatorial 
aspirant, Lieut Smith, and myself, with prancing steeds and 
gingling spurs, clattered into the plaza of Agua Mansa, where 
the polls had already been opened, but as yet voting had not 
commenced. Mac's opponent was alive as to the Agua Mansa 
vote, and had his emissaries on the field, and the level-headed 
McFarland saw at a glance that whatever vantage he gained 
would be at the price of hard fighting. Friar Juan, learning 
wisdom from his experience with the "most useful man," 
declined expressing his preference for either Bigler, the Demo- 
cratic candidate for Governor, or for Waldo, his Whig oppo- 
nent. Neither would he favor my Senatorial friend ; in fact, 
like the shoemaker when called on to become a candidate for a 
seat in the House of Commons, said he thought he had better 
let politics alone, and " stick to his last." So hastily dispatch- 
ing a courier to hurry up Don Louis, McFarland and his hench- 
men commenced skirmishing for votes, his opponents .in like 
manner being out in full force, horse, foot and quartermaster's 
men. The skirmish lines soon became engaged, and such a 



REMINISCENCES OF A BANGER. 277 

scramble for votes, or for anything else, was never before known 
in that veritable Arcadia. Drowsy Dons were aroused from 
their morning slumbers, and given to understand that unless 
they hurried to the polls and voted, their liberty and religion 
would not only be jeopardized, but would certainly be lost. 
Laborers up to their knees in water, irrigating garden and field, 
would be captured and brought up with round turns, and in- 
formed that it was a serious offence against the new dispensa- 
tion to fail to vote ; and in spite of the porques and quien 
sales, Agon Mansa, in the matter of patriotic voting, outdid 
herself, more votes being polled in that superlatively honest 
town than the whole number of the population, men, women 
and children. 

At about seven or eight o'clock in the morning a contest 
opened at the polls that threatened, at one time, serious compli- 
cations . McFarland and myself were standing near by, when 
Lieutenant Smith called out to McFarland, " Say, Mac; can a 
nigger vote in California?" " No, certainly not," was the 
quick response. "All right," said Smith, "I've challenged 
this fellow's vote." Then Mac bethinking himself that possibly 
in his hasty, hot Southern blood he had, may be, lost a vote, 
said to me, " B'ell, go quick, and in some way or other see who 
he is voting for." So, by a dexterous manoeuvre I succeeded 
in taking the colored patriot to one side and discovered that he 
was voting for McFarland, so informing him that it was " all 
right," Mac came to the front and told Smith that on second 
thought he had come to the conclusion that California being a 
free State he thought colored persons entitled to the elective 
franchise, and thought the challenge should be withdrawn. 
"No," Smith said, "I am a Virginian, sir, and I have voted, 
sir, at this polls, sir. and I would rather die, sir. than to vote, 
sir, at the same polls, sir, with a nigger, sir. If I hadn't voted, 
sir, it would be all right, sir; but as it is ; sir, I'll be d — d, sir, 
if this nigger shall vote, sir." Here was a dilemma for poor 



278 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

Mac; the nigger had his name on his ticket, and that vote must 
he polled at whatever cost. On the other hand Lieutenant 
Smith was working- for Mac, and was held in high esteem in 
San Bernardino by Lyinan, Rich, and John Brown the Alcalde, 
the leading men of the settlement, so it would not do to offend 
Smith. So having arranged that the challenge should stand in 
abeyance for awhile, Smith, myself and Mac adjourned to old 
Truxillo's casa where the sefiora had, by this time and by pre- 
arrangement, prepared a most inviting breakfast, and I do say 
and will ever maintain that in getting up substantial, appetiz- 
ing breakfasts the Mexican women are superlative. Smith 
was a ladies' man as well as a warrior, spoke Spanish quite well, 
and soon became involved in pleasant converse with the seiiori- 
tas then and there being, and with all dispatch Mac and I dis- 
patched our breakfast, and leaving Smith we hied ourselves to 
the polling place. " Now we'll vote our nigger without Smith 
knowing it," said Mac. On our arrival Mac addressed himself 
to the man of color, when it was found that he could not speak 
one word of English. " Why,'' said Mac. " this man is not a 
nigger, he is a Mexican, and of course entitled to the elective 
franchise." The man of color referred to was about six feet 
high, as straight as an arrow, and as black as a polished boot, 
with hair peculiarly kinky. He was elegantly dressed in 
extreme ranchero style, and was in all reality a decent-looking, 
well-mannered man. Now the question of his voting was 
brought up, and the judges who were all Mexicans, with a 
borrowed Quartermaster's-man for clerk, were requested by 
Mac to enquire of his birth, nationality and previous condition. 
He answered that he was a Mexican, had always been a 
Mexican, that his mother was a Mexican, that his father was a 
— quien sabe? he could say positively that when the gringos got 
California all of the Mexicans becatne Americans, and of 
course he like all the rest, was an American, and as such 
claimed all the privileges, that of voting as well; that he 



REMINISCENCES OF A *RANGER. 279 

knew the law, and by the law he would live and die; he said he 
•was a patriot, and so said Mac — so affirmed the judges, and to 
which every one assented — and the man of color voted, and 
Smith was saved the mortification of knowing it, as I hurriedly 
returned to the Truxillo house, and tearing Smith away we 
started for San Bernardino, arriving before noon and in time to 
get a good dinner at Bishop Crosby's hotel.. 

We found at San Bernardino such interest manifested in the 
election as amounted almost to an excitement, and at dinner I 
found the cause thereof to be that William Waldo, the Whig 
candidate for Governor, was reputed, among the Mormons, to 
have belonged to the Missouri mob that murdered Joe Smith, 
and a bitter aversion to him, and a marked preference for Bigler, 
was the general theme of conversation. I ventured to remark 
that they were mistaken, that I understood Waldo was not a 
tc Pike " at all, and that he was, anyway, sure to be elected. 
" He will not get a vote in San Bernardino," said Cook, one of 
the dinner-table party. " He is sure to get one vote," said I, 
" for I will go straight to the polls and vote for him, as soon as 
I've finished my dinner." " I'll whip you, if you do," said 
Cook. " I think not," said I, and my partizan blood being 
up, I got up from my half-finished dinner, went to the polls, 
and cast the only Whig vote polled at that election in San 
Bernardino. Getting back to Bishop Crosby's, Smith informed 
me that Cook, who was an ugly fellow, was bent on having a 
difficulty with me, and that as he wished to have a little repair- 
ing done on his saddle, we would go to the saddler shop first, and 
then he would see some of the Mormon officials, and have the 
quarrelsome Cook put under restraint. Accordingly we went 
to the saddler shop, which had two rooms — one a front room, 
where the work was exposed for sale, and a rear one for a work- 
shop. Smith went into the rear room with his saddle, and I 
took a seat in the front. In a moment in come Cook, with a long, 
old fashioned rifle, and, half raising it, angrily said: " Did you, 



280 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

sir, vote for William Waldo?" addressing me. Those who 
know the author, never accused him of either patience or inde- 
cision, so my answer was to sieze Cook's gun, wrest it from 
him and break it over his shoulder, and then light into him with 
the barrel. In a moment Smith and the saddler were promptly 
at hand, and restored peace, and Cook took his departure, and 
we all thought the affair was at an end. Not so, however. In 
a short time Cook returned with Cliff, the Mormon Sheriff, 
who, with a warrant sworn out by Cook, arrested and carried 
me before Alcalde Brown. Now, be it known that the said 
Brown was an old mountaineer, and, like all of that class of 
men, was full of a generous manhood, love of fair play, and 
was, withal, a high-toned, honorable man; and when I waa 
called upon to explain why and wherefore Cook's gun had been 
so broken, Smith, the saddler, and Bishop Crosby came forward 
and stated the case. Whereupon Alcalde Brown lectured Cook 
severely and fined him $50, for having been in the first place 
the aggressor. He then apologized, in behalf of the people of 
San Bernardino, and said: "Although, young man, the Mor- 
mons here are, to a man, opposed to Waldo in this election, we 
are, nevertheless, American citizens, and not only claim the 
right to vote as we see fit, but to maintain that right in behalf 
of others who differ from us. We also claim to be a hospitable 
people, and I make this example of Cook so as to deter others 
from like treatment of any stranger who may in the future 
visit us." I afterward became well acquainted with many of 
our Mormon neighbors and was on several raids with them, 
and found them to be of the very best fellows I ever had any- 
thing to do with, and when in 1859 the majority of the Mor- 
mon population in San Bernardino foolishly obeyed the order 
of Brigham Young, abandoned their homes and returned to 
Salt Lake, Southern California lost the most active, energetic 
and enterprising part of the population contained within our 
borders. I have a very pleasant recollection of the early Mor- 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 281 

mon settlers of our beautiful southern sister. When the vote 
was counted in San Bernardino it was found that Waldo had 
received one vote, upon which President Lyman, who was pres-- 
ent, laughingly remarked, "Well, sure enough, Cook's man 
voted for Waldo." The vote was duly returned and I relate this 
reminiscence only to show the fairness, the honesty and the 
generous feeling then prevailing among our Mormon neighbors 
and as a set-off to the many stories told, true or false, of their 
barbarous-like doings in the great Mormon capital 1 , and so 1 
strangely in contrast with above related. The result of that 
election was of course in favor of "/, John Bigler" McFarlancl 
carrying the two counties of Los Angeles and San Diego by a 
very handsome majority, was triumphantly elected and was all ! 
in all a most superior man, and his bill concerning our Mission' 
Indian boys and girls was one of the most beneficent Indian 
measures ever proposed. But revolutions never go backwards, 
and Mac's measure and the way it was received so disgusted 
him with politics that he threw up the business entirely and 
retired to the cooling shades of private life. 

Pegleg Smith was a Rocky Mountain man of great renown 
in his time, and ranked high as a leader, not of that high type 
of mountain honor and chivalry as pertained to the Sublettes,, 
Carson, Bridger and others of that standard of excellence, but 
rather of the Indian freebooting class, as Jim Beckworth and 
others of that ilk of whom I have heard, but whose names I 
cannot now recall. Pegleg was not a trader, neither was he 
in the strict sense of the word a trapper, but was a trafficker 
among the Indians in horses, generally having a large supply 
on hand, and would at any time join a war party of one tribe 
to war upon another, with an agreement to take a certain pro- 
rata of the captured horses in payment for his valuable services. 
It was on one of these Rocky Mountain Indian forays that 
he lost his leg, which was amputated below the knee by an 
Indian surgeon, under the direction qf Pegleg himself, the 



282 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

only surgical instruments used being a hunting knife and a 
small Indian or key-hole saw. The loss of his ambulatory mem- 
ber did not, however, incapacitate this hardy hero for war and 
raiding, but on the contrary greatly added to his prestige, and 
it was, I think, as related to me by Colonel Williams, Rubi- 
deaux and others, in 1839 or '40, that he planned and carried 
into operation the grandest and most successful horse-stealing 
expedition that ever crossed the Sierra Nevada and raided 
Our angel land. In, 1850 the chronicler hereof in crossing the 
•continent halted at Pegleg's camp, at the Soda and Steamboat 
Springs on Bear river, and found the old fellow in the zenith 
of happiness and prosperity. He was in the undisputed owner- 
ship of hundreds of most beautiful Spanish horses, so called at 
the time — in this history designated as mustangs, and by the 
:gringos commonly called broncos. Now the truth is that a 
bottle of whisky or a pound of powder was the price of a 
ihorse in Pegleg's camp, and notwithstanding whisky was scarce 
and powder reasonably plenty among westward bound gold- 
hunters, Pegleg found ready sale for as many horses as he 
could spare, anxl himself, his squaws and his Indian retainers 
'kept gloriously drunk, and were as happy as braves' are sup- 
iposed to be wh?n they reach the happy hunting grounds. 

In answer to the question as to how he came to have so 
"many horses, he said, " Oh ! I went down into the Spanish 
•country and got them." "What did they cost you ?" we in- 
•quired. " They cost me very dearly," said he. " Three of my 
squaws lost brothers, and one of them a father, on that trip, 
and I came near going under myself. I lost several other 
braves, and you can depend on it that I paid for all the horses 
1 drove away. Them Spaniards followed us and fought us in a 
way that Spaniards were never before known to do." "How 
many did you get ?" we again queried. " Only about 3000 ; 
the rascals got about half of what we started with away from 
Us, d n them. I made up my mind to try it over, but then 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 283 

our own people taking the country broke up my plans. I 
never make war on my own people, and in driving off Spanish 
horses I might be brought in contact with my own country- 
men, and you know that would not by any manner of means 
do." 

According to Rubideaux, a half-dozen white men and about 
a hundred and fifty Indians took the war-path on this grand 
expedition of Pegleg to the "Spanish country," Jim Beck- 
worth having preceded the party as a spy. According to 
Colonel Williams, Jim, who was a mulatto, came in and made 
his headquarters at his (Chino) ranch, and pretending that he 
was going to remain in the country and try his hand at killing 
sea otter, then a most profitable business, Jini spied out the 
land, and when Pegleg appeared in the Cajon Pass was ready 
at hand to counsel, guide and assist him. The raid was rapid 
and successful. Every ranch south of the Santa Ana to San 
Juan was visited, and the best horses and mares driven away, 
and before the rancheros could collect in sufficient force to 
pursue, the raiders had re-entered the Cajon. The pursuit 
was, however, made, and so vigorously that the raiders were 
overtaken, roughly handled, and with the result as above 
stated by the renowned Pegleg himself. This foray was un- 
doubtedly well planned, and was only preliminary to others to 
follow of a still more formidable character, which were pre- 
vented by the country falling into the hands of the great gringo 
nation. Pegleg, however, had made a previous grand haul of 
horses in Los Angeles Valley, in 1835. 



284 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 



CHAPTER XXV. 

Ranchero Life — Fiestas — Military Execution — Rancho San Pedro— Don 
Manuel Dorainguez — A Dignitary — Rancho del Chino— Colonel Isaac 
Williams — His Noble Generosity — Rancho San Joaquin — A Grand 
Rodea— Don Jose* Sepulveda— A Forty-two Mile Race — William 
Wolfskill. 




author ventures the assertion, and without the fear 
of contradiction, that no country since the days of the 
Biblical patriarchs presented such scenes of pastural 
beauty, general prosperity and Arcadian happiness as did Cali- 
fornia before the discovery of gold in '48. If I am. correct, 
before the coming of the gringo in '46, the Mexican province of 
California contained a population of 30,000 inhabitants, not 
counting the Indians. This population extended along the 
coast from San Diego to Sonoma, a distance of say 600 miles. 
There being only a few towns, San Diego being first, then Los 
Angeles, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Monterey', Santa 
.Cruz, San Jose, Yerba Buena, and last of all going north, 
Sonoma. Los Angeles was the largest, containing a popu- 
lation of about 2000. Next came Santa Barbara and Mon- 
terey, mere villages. Now it is quite easy for the reader 
to perceive that the major part of the population dwelt on 
the ranches. These ranchos ranged in siz efrom one to eleven 
leagues — that is, in round numbers from five thousand to 
fifty thousand acres; the owner of each rancho possessing from 
one thousand to ten thousand head of horned cattle, and 
from one or two hundred to three thousand or four thousand 
head of horses, broken and bronco. The country, even when 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 285 

the value of a bullock was his hide, tallow and horns, was 
prosperous, and money plenty. The rancheros dressed well, 
were well housed, and had an abundance of store — home pro- 
duce and of foreign importation. 

Having heretofore described a California adobe house, a rep- 
etition "thereof will not now be necessary. The hospitality of 
the California rancheros was a proverb. A person, though he 
may have been a stranger, or to the country born, could start 
from San Diego and journey to Sonoma without its costing 
him a dollar, and be furnished with a fresh horse at every 
rancho, leaving instead the one of the previous day's ride. 
Such a thing as charging a traveler for what he received would 
have been considered an act of excessive meanness. The social 
intercourse and amusements of these isolated people were in 
keeping with their situation. Religious fiestas were celebrated 
at the pueblos and Missions with great pomp and ceremony, 
and afforded a pleasant recreation and relief from the monotony 
of ranch life. When the daughter of a ranchero married, the 
family either gave a grand fiesta at the rancho or a baile at the 
pueblo or Mission, to which the whole country were invited, 
except the lower classes, and to which the people came some- 
times from a distance of forty leagues or more, families travel- 
ing in their elaborately fixed up carretas, and the beaux trans- 
porting the belles before them on their elegant saddles, the 
beau occupying a seat on the croup with his bridle arm rest- 
ing on the shoulder of his fair passenger, or encircling her 
slender waist. While the families were absent on these social 
expeditions nothing would go amiss on the ranches, the major- 
• domo and the Indian vaqueros would look out for the herds as 
though the patron were present; the grass would grow and the 
cattle would thrive and multiply. These marriage feasts 
would be of three or four days' duration. Dancing at night 
and horse-racing during the day, and generally winding up 
with bull-fighting. The religious feasts celebrated at the 



286 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

churches were brilliant, pompous, expensive and imposing, the 
most important of which were the feast of the Holy Week, 
Corpus Christi and St. John's Day, the latter being devoted to 
cock-fighting and kindred amusements, .one of which was to 
take a live cock and after plucking the feathers from and 
thoroughly greasing his neck, his body would be buried iu 
the middle of the street or road, the greased neck alone 
being exposed above the ground. Now the .game was to 
dash past the buried cock at full speed on horseback, and 
lean over and seize the neck and pull the cock from the 
ground — a most difficult performance. On St. John's Day, 
in '53, General Andres Pico, Jack Powers and Don Jose 
Sepulveda were the principal contestants in this exciting sport, 
Sepulveda being the victor of a well-contested day. The 
feast of Corpus Christi was one of peculiar religious observance, 
one of processions, parades and displays. The feast of the 
Holy Week always ended with a tragedy on the Saturday of 
Glory, in the annual execution of that eminent traitor, Judas 
Iscariot, which was done by first erecting a gibbet, then an 
effigy of Judas was brought forth from an imaginary prison, 
was mounted on a cart, with his arms pinioned, and being 
guarded by a file of soldiers, was drawn around the plaza and 
principal streets, followed by the excited crowd, hooted at, 
insulted and pelted by the boys and others, and finally, in a 
most dilapidated and disgraceful condition, was halted in front 
of the gibbet. Now an orator from the crowd comes forward 
and delivers a solemn lecture to Judas, and gi^es him fits, 
makes his bow and retires, and is succeeded by another orator, 
who gives Judas another berating, and accuses him of crimes so 
contemptible and manifold, that, as an impartial judge one feels 
constrained to take sides with the old sinner, and declare one's 
utter unbelief in those divers and many crimes charged against 
him — such, for instance, as "robbing hen-roosts, of stealing old 
clothes, of dealing cards unfairly in the national game of 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 287" 

monte, of being a cheat, a vagabond, a Jew, and worst of all, a 
gringo." Poor old Judas stands this without a word of denial, 
and by standing mute is deemed to have pleaded guilty, is 
taken from the cart, raised to and bound on the gibbet. The 
crowd again commence to insult and pelt him, all of which old 
Judas endures without a word of remonstrance ; stands like a 
martyr. The tragedy is about to end as the shades of eve 
begin to fall upon the scene. 

Now we hear the strains of martial music, the solemn 
tap of the drum, and the heavy tramp of military feet as a 
platoon of infantry file into line and halt in front of the 
doomed traitor. Now the judgment of the courjfc is read and 
the death warrant recited, and Judas is given an opportunity 
to speak for himself, but remains as mute as a dead mutton, 
which is taken as an acknowledgement that the judgment is 
just, and that he ought to die. Now the military commander 
orders his men to "load! shoulder arms ! ready! aim! fire!" 
and poor Judas for the eighteen-hundredth time or more suffers 
a public execution. The volley riddles him. Then " load and 
fire at will," and the soldiers take huge delight in firing at 
Judas until there is not a piece of him left large enough for a 
cigar wrapper. In the meantime the band plays, the crowd 
yell and hoot in triumphant glee, and Judas is sent to the- 
devil until Saturday the year coming, when he is again disposed 
of in the same way. 

After the gringo nation had nailed its flag to the mast in 
this angel land, the ceremonies attending the annual execution 
of Judas became less inspiriting and satisfactory, because of 
there being no military to blow the old traitor into the next 
year. Happily, in 1854, one W. W. Twist, he who had been 
Sheriff of Santa Barbara and got so worsted in his tussle with 
Jack Powers, raised a company of volunteer infantry, responded 
to the pious call of Father Anacleto, marched his company to 
the plaza, and with Uncle Sam's muskets riddled Judas as 



;288 REMINISCENCES OF A BANGER. 

•effectually, as well and as much to the satisfaction of all con- 
cerned as ever did the Christian soldiers of Spain and Mexico. 
'Twist came to California with Stephenson's regiment, was a 
natural-born soldier, was an American by birth and a Mexican 
by marriage and won a crown immortal in being the first, and 
possibly the last man, who ever used the arms of the gringo 
government in so pious a way. Alas ! poor Twist, he went to 
.Sonora and ascended thence to glory on the emoke of a Mexican 
revolution. 

Some of the great ranches of the country were baronial in 
-their extent and surroundings. Their proprietors being great 
.dignitaries, maintaining large numbers of vassals — for such 
really they were, mostly Indians who, under Mexican major 
•domes, did all of the labor for the ranch. The chief major 
.domo, under the immediate direction of the patron, had entire 
supervision of the business; then there was the naajor domo de 
la casa, or steward; the major domo del campo had charge of 
•the vaqueros, or mounted herders in the field .; the major 
domo de las caponeras had full control of the gentle horses; 
the major domo de las manadas were in charge of thousands of 
^wild mares and their foals, and attended to the branding of 
colts, others to the marking and branding of cattle. There 
vwere hair-rope and halter-makers, others who made cinches or 
broad hair girths, makers of raw hide riatas, the curers of 
hides, the triers out of tallow, the hewers of wood and the 
carreta men, all of whom amounted to hundreds of people 
dependent upon the ranchero or lord of the manor. At morn 
you hear the clatter of horses' feet and the jingling of spurs as 
the mounted men, hat in hand report for duty to the major 
domo-in-chief and then in detachments dash off at a full gallop 
in all directions to their respective duties. By this time coffee 
is served in the dining hall, and the patron, members of his 
household, and guests take their morning cup. At nine or ten 
•o'clock the vaqueros begin to return from the field, and.alierd 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 289 

of gentle horses are driven into the corral, fresh ones are caught, 
and those of the day before are turned loose, may be not to be 
used again for a week; the fresh ones are saddled, and then the 
under major domos report to the chief, who in turn, hat in 
hand, reports to the patron, and then the whole ranch goes to 
breakfast, which being disposed of the duties of the day are 
resumed. 

This was about the business of a first-class California rancho 
in the times of which I write, and prior to the discovery of 
gold. _The Rancho San Pedro, the property of Don Manuel 
Dominguez, the Rancho San Joaquin, belonging to Don Jose 
Sepulveda, and the Rancho del Chino, the lordly estate of 
Isaac Williams, were among the first in California, each of 
which maintained over 10,000 head of horned cattle and half 
as many horses, and on my first visit to Chino, in '52, Colonel 
Williams had just purchased a herd of 35,000 sheep from New 
Mexico, with which to commence the business of sheep-raising. 
Rancho San Pedro lies on Wilmington Bay, and extends about 
ten miles on the way to Los Angeles. Don Manuel, who 
lorded it over this magnificent California barony when Commo- 
dore Mervine, U. S. N., on his march against Los Angeles, in 
1846, and on being repulsed made the Dominguez ranch house 
a temporary halting-place and fortification, is still the fee 
simple owner of this grand domain of rich bottom land. 

Don Manuel Dominguez as a representative California Mex- 
ican of the educated and intelligent class, deserves more than a 
passing mention, and his name should go into and become a part 
of the history of this country. Don Manuel was a former 
dignitary of California, having under the Mexican regime held 
some of the most important offices in the province, once refus- 
ing the governorship. On the formation of the State govern- 
ment in '49 he was a most influential member of the constitu- 
tional convention. Nothing more is necessary to illustrate the 

sterling worth of this iron octogenarian than to say that 
19 



290 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

through all the misfortunes that befell the great landed 
proprietors of California he almost alone stands as a sturdy 
oak midst the desolation around him, all of his contemporaries 
having bowed, bent and fallen before the storms of adversity. 
The great landed estates of California in some way or other 
having passed from the hands of the former proprietors and 
become the heritage of the stranger. Clad in the armor of 
good sense and integrity, Don Manuel has battled with adver- 
sity, dealing blow for blow, and has come out victorious. All 
honor to the noble old hero, who now, surrounded by chil- 
dren and grandchildren, and all that goes to make one happy, 
from his castle gates on the Dominguez hills, with his ancient 
field-glass sweeps the boundary of his twenty thousand acre 
field, with full assurance that he has weathered the storm, out- 
rode the billows of adversity, and has anchored his life-boat in 
the quiet harbor of security, honor and contentment. On the 
coming of the American the broad doors were thrown open at 
the Casa Dominguez, and a hospitality was dispensed that was 
baronial. With the genial Dr. John BrinckerhooiF as interpre- 
ter and master of ceremonies, the balls, entertainments and 
company at the Dominguez house were of the best in all Cali- 
fornia. It is safe to say that Don Manuel has not an enemy 
among the thousands who know him ; honored and beloved by 
all. Soon after my arrival in this then happy land it became 
my good fortune to be an invited guest at the house of the 
generous Don Manuel, and to win, and I hope to have deserved, 
his friendship and esteem, and will ever treasure the memories 
clustering around his festive board as of the most agreeable 
within my quite varied experience. 

In May, '53, I was invited to attend a grand rodea (which 
means a gathering of cattle), which was to take place on the 
San Joaquin Rancho, forty- two miles east of Los Angeles ; so 
in company with a fellow-gringo I betook myself thither, arriv- 
ing late in the afternoon. Reaching the ranch house, I was 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 291 

surprised at the numbers present ; rancheros from all parts of 
the county, and from San Diego, either in person, followed by 
a troop of retainers, or by their representatives, the major 
domos. The Machados of La Ballona, the Picos from San 
Fernando and San Diego, the Dominguez, the Sepulvedas of 
Palos Verdes, the Lugos from everywhere, the Avilas of 
Tahauta, Centinela and Aliso, the Sanchez, the Ocampo, and 
the Cotas, the Stearns, Rowlands, Reeds, Williams, the 
Yorbas of Santa Ana, and the Temples of Puente and Cerritos, 
all were there — a larger army than that with which Andres 
Pico so roughly handled Gen. Kearney at San Pascual, and 
placed thirty-two of his troopers liors du combat. All were 
there, with their trains, to separate and drive to their respective 
ranches whatever cattle may have strayed to the confines of 
San Joaquin. When I unsaddled I could see groups of dozens 
here and there, seated upon and surrounding a blanket spread 
upon the ground, engaged in the national game of monte. 
These were the vaquero servants. At the house I found Don 
Jose Sepulveda, the owner of San Joaquin, with dignified cour- 
tesy receiving the visitors to the rodea, Don Jose's residence, 
however, being in the city. The ranchmen are busy in dealing 
out beef and other comestibles to the vaqueros, and the house 
emits the odors of cookery, for the patrons and major domos, 
must be entertained as becomes their quality. Full a hun- 
dred persons sup at the ranch table, after which conversation 
commences, and is kept up until long after the writer has 
passed the boundary of dreamland. Before daylight, however, 
the whole camp is astir, and when I take my coffee scarce a 
man is to be seen, all having gone to the field to form the rodea 
for the day's work. By nine o'clock 30,000 head of horned 
cattle are brought into one herd, and surrounded b> vaqueros, 
armed with the terrible riata, and now the work of separation 
and marking begins. 

The cattle of these many owners have not only to be sep- 



292 'REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

arated, but the calves must be marked in the ear and branded. 
All of this work must be done inside of two days, as during 
the time, this great herd have no food, and may become mad- 
dened and unmanageable from hunger &nd thirst. To pene- 
.trate this formidable body, to a gringo, is a most delicate and 
dangerous operation, but to see how the vaqueros do it, their 
perfection of horsemanship, the adroitness with which they ply 
the riata, the cleverness and ease with which they extricate a 
cow and her calf from this living labarynth, excites one's 
admiration in the highest degree. As they are extricated each 
owner receives his own marks and brands the calf and drives 
them to his separate herd. So by the time the rodea is over 
the grand herd of 30,000 is broken into many small herds and 
the vaqueros drive them to their respective ranches. These 
rodeas were grand affairs, .and the } oung men of the ranches 
vied with each other in feats of horsemanship and throwing 
the lazo. The one of which I write was disposed of in two 
days, and a few of the rancheros resolved to remain at the 
rancho and further enjoy the hospitality of the host, and when 
I surrendered myself to the embrace of Morpheus, the most 
lively conversation was going on, Don Jose and his brother, 
Don Fernando, manifesting a lively interest therein. At about 
half-past three o'clock a messenger arrived from Los Angeles 
with the information that the aged father of Don Jose and 
Fernando was suddenly stricken with serious illness and was on 
the very threshold of eternity. The arrival awoke myself and 
companion, and upon learning the matter and that Don Jose 
and his brother were to depart instantly, we ordered our horses 
and resolved to ride in with them. Some one suggested that 
we would not be able to keep up, but as Don Jose was near 
sixty years of age we scouted the idea, and at four o'clock we 
were on the road at a full gallop, which we continued to the 
Santa Ana, the two Dons rising the west bank when we were 
in the middle of the river. We failed to come up with them, 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 293 

notwithstanding we put our chargers to their mettle, and before 
reaching Los Nietos they were out of sight. When we 
ascended the western bluff of the San Gabriel we could faintly 
discern the flying figures of the two horsemen eight miles 
ahead of us. "We were badly beaten, notwithstanding we made 
the forty-two miles in a few minutes over three hours. 
X One of the most prominent and wealthy of the ante-bellum 
pioneers was Isaac Williams, known in the Spanish vernacular 
as Don Julian del Chino. Colonel Williams was the most 
perfect specimen of the frontier gentleman I ever knew — tall, 
handsome, elegant and courtly in his manners. To have met 
him in Washington or N«w York he would have been taken as 
a high type of a cotton king of Louisiana, rather than one who 
had passed his life in the Kocky Mountains and on the unknown 
shores of the unknown sea. With his fifteen leagues of the 
best land in California, his ten thousand head of horned cattle, 
his six thousand or more of horses, his thirty-five thousand head 
of sheep, his fields of corn, barley, and wheat, with his corps of 
Mexican assistants and his villages of Indian vassals, this 
adventurous American was more than a baron : he was a prince, 
and wielded an influence and power more absolute and 
arbitrary than any of the barons of the middle ages. Colonel 
Williams dispensed a hospitality that was not only free, it was 
generous. His house was always open, and when it would not 
hold his guests they would camp around. Hundreds and 
thousands of immigrants from the " States," from Chihuahua 
and New Mexico, found the Chino ranch a haven of rest, where 
the hungry were fed, and the naked clothed, and the infirm 
cared for, and none came without a welcome to his bounty. 
I have seen one hundred persons at a time recipients of his 
generosity. He would send to Los Angeles and purchase 
clothes for his tattered countrymen after their arduous journey 
across the mountains and deserts. Individually I knew three 
young men having crossed the plains, hired to Colonel Williams. 



294 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

to dig a ditch. He finding them to be educated business men, 
came into Los Angeles and set them up as merchants, with a 
$10,000 stock. His open generosity frequently exposed him 
to impositions and frauds, all of which he submitted to with 
the utmost philosophical good humor. In '52 and '53 I passed 
n good deal of my time as the friend and guest of this modern 
feudal lord, and in writing this tribute to his memory know 
whereof I write. Colonel Williams died in 1857, at the age of 
about fifty-five years. Colonel John J. Warner, another 
pioneer, whose magnificent domain was the first that was 
reached by the immigrant after crossing the Colorado desert, 
was always open-hearted and genSrous to the way-worn 
traveller, and not being so rich as Williams was nearly impov- 
erished by his acts of charitable liberality. All honor to this 
benevolent old pioneer. 

Don Jose Sepulveda died in 1875, leaving to the country 
one of the finest families of children that now grace our 
county and its society — one of his daughters being the wife of 
my salt-sea hero, Captain Haley, one the wife of Captain James 
Thompson, whose name appears so often and so honorably in 
this book, and the last is the wife of Thomas D. Mott, who 
was for many years successively Clerk of Los Angeles County, 
and more recently a member of the State Legislature. Mr. 
Mott is a member of the celebrated Mott family of New York, 
and is all in all a very marked character. 

Don Jose sent his boys to the East to be educated, and in 
this he manifested great wisdom. His son Ignacio. yet a young 
man, is one of the most promising, not only in the State, but 
within the whole limits of our glorious land. A lawyer of rare 
talent, he, when scarce past his majority, discharged the duties 
of Judge of Los Angeles County with marked distinction and 
ability, and was raised thence to the dignity of District Judge, 
and is now a Judge of the Superior Court. The country has 
just cause for being proud of, and the people are proud of, 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 295 

Judge Ignacio Sepulveda, and the author is proud to call him 
my friend. Andronico Sepulveda, a brother to the Judge, is 
Auditor of Los Angeles County. 

The first few days after my arrival in Los Angeles I visited 
the then famous vineyard of William Wolfskill, the best then 
in California. Mr. Wolfskill was a very remarkable man ; in 
fact he was a hero — not the kind of a hero poets like to sing 
about, but still a hero. A man of .indomitable will, industry 
and self-denial ; an American pioneer hero ; one who succeeds 
in all he undertakes, and is alwa) 7 s to be trusted ; of the kind 
of men who enrich the country in which they live. Mr. Wolf- 
skill sold the first grapes in San Francisco grown north of Los 
Angeles. Having planted a vineyard, on his ranch in jS"apa 
Valley, in '54, he placed his first crop on Long Wharf, in San 
Francisco, one month in advance of Los Angeles grapes, and 
sold them at twenty-five dollars per cental wholesale. I met 
this pioneer fruit-grower when disposing of this crop, and he 
said, "I am now realizing a boyhood dream, of a country where 
money grows on bushes. Growing grapes at two bits a pound 
is the nearest thing to plucking money from bushes that has 
ever been realized." Mr. Wolfskill was the most economical of 
men, yet in all truth he was one of the most hospitable and 
generous. He died in 1866, leaving a very large fortune. 




296 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 




CHAPTER XXVI. 

Jim Savage, the Tulare King — His Gieat Influence Over the Indians — His 
Barrel of Gold Dust— He Establishes His Camp and Harem on the 
Plaza of San Francisco— Is Photographed by Vance— Indian Monte — 
Jim Wins a Large Pile — His Bloody End. 

KNOW of no country at the present day so inac- 
cessible and isolated as was California prior to the 
Mexican war. To reach our coast by sea required 
a voyage of imminent danger and monotonous hardship of 
nearly a year. The old hide droghers being the class of vessel 
that would butt three times at a billow and then back out 
and go around it, and besides the skipper felt it to be his 
especial duty to remain in each port, and Honolulu in partic- 
ular, as long a time as the convenience of the crew required. 
By land no one came here, unless perchance some adventurous 
gringo vagabondizing in Mexico sought fairer fields further 
on, and finding carne and contentment in our genial land, 
became as one to the manor born, hence all of the ante-bellum 
gringos were Dons, and generally held in high esteem by the 
genuine and simon-pure Dons of the country. However, some 
of the descendants of the conquistaclores held these adopted 
Dons in not very high esteem and withheld from them the 
aristocratic distinction, and denied that those gringos aforesaid 
were even entitled to be called Hidalgos, — the latter appella- 
tion meaning a man who has a father, or the son of somebody. 
Adventurous trappers sometimes found themselves trapped 
into becoming Dons and the fathers of Dons, which latter 
class of Dons now claim to be Hidalgos, or meaning in another 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 297 

sense that they had somebody for a father, a something certainly 
to be justly proud of. Now there were just three classes of 
gringos, as above enumerated, the seaman, the adventurer from 
Mexico, and the trapper. The true born Spaniard is very 
proud, and why not ? Was not Cervantes a Spaniard ? And 
did not the Spanish cavalier upset the Aztec empire in Mexico, 
and the Incas in Peru, level their temples with the ground 
and gobble up an immense amount of swag, and then set up 
as the richest and most powerful people, under the special pro- 
tection of their unnumbered saints. I repeat the Spaniard is 
proud and has reason so to be, and those who held the bogus 
gringo Dons in low esteem only did honor to their noble 
ancestry. 

There were some exceptions to these three kinds of gringos 
but they were very rare, as much so as angels' visits, which 
were not rarities at all in this angelic land, as occasionally 
a gentleman of education and rare accomplishments would 
find his way to this far-off region, and being seduced by its 
charms, or the charms of its blythe and happy daughters, 
would here remain. Such were Victor Prudhomme, Thomas 
0. Larkin, General Sutter, Don David W. Alexander and men 
of that class. This reminds me now of an anecdote that was 
related to me by Don David which will illustrate the contempt 
in which the average gringo was held by the high-toned Span- 
iard in the ante-bellum times in California. 

Don David was visiting at one of the principal angel habita- 
tions hereabout, and was engaged in conversation with the pre- 
siding angel thereof, when a little girl came to the door with, 
'•' Mamma, alia viene jente" (people are coming). "Quienes 
son ? " (who are they ?) queried the rnamma. ie Quien sabe ? 
hay muchos" (who knows? there are many), answered the 
little angel. At this time the Dona went to the door, and see- 
ing the jente, returned to her seat, gently reproving her little 
girl with : "Ah, que ija, estos no son jente ; son gringos." 



298 REMINISCENCES OF A HANGER. 

(Fie ! fie ! child, those are not people ; they are gringos.) In 
the third chapter of this history the author, in defining the 
word gringo, declared it to have been an awful thing to be a 
gringo in those days. Now, does the reader wonder at the 
declaration ? Don David was a most genial camp-fire com- 
panion, and the very best story-teller that ever flipped a flap- 
jack, and hereafter I may make further mention of him in that 
particular. 

In those ante-bellum times there appeared among the 
Indians of the Tulare Valley a character that was not a Don — 
neither was he a gringo. Whence he came no one knew ; who 
he was, or had been, was a mystery. He was comparatively a 
boy, white, -and an American. He eschewed all association 
with the scattering gringo population, and severely gave- the 
cold shoulder to the native Dons. The Indians themselves 
could elicit no information as to his antecedents, so they decided 
that he came down on a moonbeam. Without any palaver he 
hung up his hat among those Indians, and at once assumed the 
role of ruler. 

Having first installed himself as chief of a village, soon he 
became master of a tribe. Being sober, intelligent, and ener- 
getic he did a great deal to ameliorate the condition of his 
people, and to teach them the ruder arts of civilization. He 
encouraged them to raise crops and garner them, and having 
become so popular with one tribe, others sought his protection 
and rule, and when the American flag was flung to the breeze 
in California, Jim Savage was the absolute and despotic ruler 
over thousands of Indians, extending all the way from the 
Cosumnes to the Tejon Pass, and was by them designated in 
their Spanish vernacular El Bey Guero — The blonde king. He 
called himself the Tulare King. The respect, fear and super- 
stitious veneration these rude people had for their mysterious 
king, was greater than that shown by the Aztecs for the 
Tonatiuh of conquistorial history. Jim might have been a 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 299 

veritable El Dorado, or El Rey Dorado, and fearing that many 
of rny readers may not fully understand the meaning of that 
term, I will inform him that for many years in South America, 
after the conquest, there was a tradition that somewhere in the 
valley of the Orinoco, there existed an Indian kingdom ; that 
gold dust was there so plentiful that every morning the King 
after his ablutions was anointed with a resinous gum and then 
besprinkled with gold dust until he was made to appear as though 
he were gilded (dorado — from the Spanish verb dorar, to guild.) 
This imaginary monarch was called tiie Gilded King, (El Rey 
Dorado). The Tulare King might have been El Rey Dorado, 
for the reason that in 1850 he had more gold dust than possibly 
was ever possessed by any one man, and could have been gilded 
therewith every morning of his life should he have lived his 
allotted time. Mr, G. D. W. Robinson, one of our most truth- 
ful and intelligent '49ers, (and where is the '49er who is not 
truthful in all gold stories) now resident of San Diego, informs 
the writer hereof that in 1850 he was at Jim Savage's Camp 
in the Tulares, and that he had a pork barrel full of gold dust, 
which enormous quantity would amount to nearly a million of 
dollars in value; still Mr. Robinson declares the truth of what 
is here written, and has proffered to make affidavit to the same, 
and also that this great treasure sat in his tent wholly 
unguarded except by the Indians themselves. 

When the gold mines were discovered, the Tulare King, with 
a large number of his slave-like subjects went to the mines, and 
the Indians with their lateas could collect as much dust as 
could the most intelligent white man, and at the close of day 
all these Indian workers would faithfully deliver the proceeds 
of their day's labor to their King. 

Jirn also won an enormous quantity of gold-dust, from a 
tribe of mountain Indians. The Tulare King was a great 
adept in the Indian game of three sticks, which is very much 
like three-card monte. One of three'short sticks being marked, 



300 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

a player takes the three and after manipulating conceals them 
in his two closed hands, and the others lay their wagers and 
then guess in which hand the dealer holds the marked stick. 
Now a certain mountain chief, whose tribe had collected a large 
amount of dust, was challenged by Jim Savage to play this 
game for gold-dust. The challenge being accepted, the whole 
mountain tribe came to Jim's camp and were royally enter- 
tained. Beeves were slaughtered, flour given out, and sugar 
and coffee freely distributed, all at Jim's expense. After much 
palaver and ceremony the game commenced and was kept up 
with varying success for three days, when at last the Tulare 
King won the last measure of gold, which occurred at about 
midnight. "When the last wager was lost the dusky mountain 
chief gave a resonant whoop and took up a dog trot for the 
mountains, followed in the same manner by his tribe. He was 
beaten, but how he never knew. The truth was, Jim had 
learned to conceal the marked stick in his sleeve. The naked 
savage, never suspecting such civilized device, was thus beaten 
out of all the dust collected by his tribe during the season. 
Some time in the autumn of '50 the Tulare King, with his 
court and harem visited San Francisco, and notwithstanding 
his immense wealth in gold-dust he disdained to stop at a tav- 
ern, or live in the manner of civilized man, and so he pitched 
his camp on Portsmouth Square (the plaza) in all the pomp of 
barbaric magnificence, and was thus photographed by Vance, 
the pioneer picture man. This photograph ought to be in the 
collection of the Society of Pioneers. 

The King, court and harem, however, only remained in San 
Francisco long enough to see the sights of civilization, and then 
returned to their great Tulare kingdom, and now 
" Grim visaged war rears his wrinkled front." 

The mountain Indians were making war on the miners, and 
the bugle blast of war resounded from the American Fork to 
the Stanislaus. Two batallions of militia were called out and 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 301 

Major Savage was appointed to command that of the South. 
In his batallion he had some very high-strung officers, one a 
West Point graduate, I believe, Major Harvey. 

Now, although Jim Savage was a man of rare ability, and 
wherever or how he got it, had a very tolerable education, but 
was wholly unfitted to command a batallion of such men as be- 
longed to his command, for as such commander he showed such 
despotic disposition as he had used toward his Tulare Indians, 
who were in no way compromised in the war then waged by 
their redskin kindred, and their King was only appointed to 
command because of his great influence among all the Indians, 
the seat of war being many leagues to the northward of the 
Tulare capital, as it was, Major Savage committed some great 
indignity on some of his high-toned officers, for which, in a 
fight of his own seeking, he was killed. 

Great was the wailing of grief among the Tulares at the 
untimely taking off of their King. For months they continued 
to mourn, and in all truth their loss was irreparable. Jim 
Savage was not only their King, lie was a father ever guardf ul 
of their rights, and had he been spared them their annihilation, 
which was so swift that it can scarcely be realized, might have 
been averted. Jim Savage was a wonderful man, and his 
•death was a loss to the country as well as to the Indians. 
•Since his death no elue was ever found as to his origin or ante- 
cedent history, and no account was ever taken or inquiry made 
concerning his vast treasure in gold dust. 

After the death of Jim Savage various white men went 
;among those same Indians and tried to win their confidence 
and gain such influence as was wielded by Savage, but all 
without avail. After €ke death of their Rey Guero white men 
were all alike to them. 

When the gold mines were discovered California was densely 
[populated with Indians. You couldn't go amiss for them. 
Mountain and valley, forest and plain, were covered with 



302 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

Indians. Where are they ? Thirty years seems too short a 
period of time to annihilate a great population extending over 
more than a thousand miles extent of country. At the present 
time, passing over the Tulare plains not a vestige is to be seen 
of its former thousands of Indian population. They are gone ! 
all gone ! It is sad to contemplate ; they were so docile and 
harmless in disposition. If they were swept into the mael- 
strom of destruction by our Anglo-Saxon civilization, then I 
fear me there is something wrong about it. But what is the 
use of useless lamentation ? The Indians are all gone and 
that is the end of it, and we can only hope that they have all 
gone to happy hunting grounds. 

Major Walter H. Harvey, the slayer of Jim Savage, was 
sensitive, generous, and high-strung, absolutely fearless, slow 
to give offence, and quick as the lightning's flash to resent an 
insult or to repel an aggression. I do not remember the exact 
cause of the difficulty between himself and Savage, and it is 
now too late to inquire, or to raise an issue thereon ; but 
knowing Harvey long and well, the author is free to maintain 
that in the great number of brave and generous men of pioneer 
times, none stood higher than the gallant Harvey, who died at 
Los Angeles in 1861, aged forty-eight years. 




REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 3C3 




CHAPTER XXVII. 

Bradsbaw — A. True Gentleman and Natural Lunatic — Bill First Turns Up 
in Sonoma in 1846 — His Scrimmage With -a Mexican Caplaia — Comes 
Out First Best but Vamoses the Ranch — Joins the Bear Flag Party — 
Capture of Sonoma — True Chivalry — Joins Fremont's Battalion — Mad 
Freaks Among the Angels — The French Rebellion at Mokelumne Hill — 
The Militia Ordered Out — Bradshaw Appointed to Command — Happy 
Termination of the War — His Antics in San Francisco- Goes to Ari- 
zona — Tragic Death. 



JENTION having been heretofore made of Bill Brad- 
shaw, his shooting Nelse Williamson in our Kern 
River gold seeking expedition and his having given 
name to the famous Bradshaw mining district in Arizona, it 
will now be in place to give a brief account of this curious 
character, and a more curious or a more marked character this 
careful chronicler never knew — one of nature's most polished 
gentlemen and brightest jewel in America's collection of true 
born chivalry. Bradshaw was brave, generous, eccentric, and 
in simple truth a natural lunatic. In manly form and physi- 
cal beauty, perfect; in muscular strength, a giant; in fleetness 
of foot and endurance, unequaled. The first account I have of 
Bradshaw was at Sonoma in 1846, then about twenty years old, 
at work, under Captain Salvador Vallejo, Mexican Post Com- 
mander, building a picket fence. Don Salvador, with all the 
pomp and circumstance of despotic authority came around 
where Bill was at work and expressed his marked displeasure 
at the manner in which it was being done. Bill, with all 
the dignity of true born American importance, flatly told the 
Don that he didn't know what he was talking about, which 
sass so kindled the ire of the offended Mexican dignitary that 



304 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

he whipped out his trusty Toledo and tried its temper on Bill's 
supposed seat of honor, striking him with the flat thereof. 
Vesuvius ! Stromboli ! Cotapaxi ! what are thy fires as com- 

• 

pared with those that raged in the bosom of this young hero 
from the land of Marion and Surnpter upon being struck an 
ignominious blow with the flat of a Mexican sabre ? In an 
instant the domineering Don was down, felled like an ox with 
a redwood picket, wielded with terrific force by this outraged 
American boy, who seized the sword of the apparently dead 
Captain, and in a fury of uncontrollable rage pounded it 
into pot-hooks with his axe that lay conveniently near. Then 
realizing what he had done Bradshaw saw that he must 
choose, and that immediately, between instant flight and a 
Mexican prison, chains, and ignominious punishment. So hur- 
riedly he sought his temporary lodging place, seized his rifle 
and struck out for the Sacramento Valley, and only returned to 
Sonoma when that military post fell into the hands of the 
Bear Flag party, Bradshaw being one of the most daring and 
energetic of that adventurous band. 

Salvador Vallejo commanded the garrison at Sonoma, and 
finding the young hero of the redwood picket in the ranks of 
his captors, was greatly alarmed, and said to the Bear Flag 
commander, " Now I suppose I will be murdered, finding this 
assassin in your force," pointing to Bradshaw. "Oh, no," 
responded Bill ; " we are now friends, so far as I am concerned. 
If I owed you anything I paid it in full, and with interest. Is 
not this true, Don Salvador ? And if you owed me anything 
I am willing to square accounts. An American never strikes 
an enemy when he is down. You are down now, and I am up, 
so here's my hand ; my friendship is yours if you need it." 
Don Salvador, who was really a fine fellow, manifestly 
chagrined, shook the proffered hand of the victorious young 
'Filibuster, vowing future friendship, and ever after the two 
were fast friends. 'Bill said it was the proudest act of his life 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 305 

to show that mendacious Mexican how an American could 
avenge a wrong. The next we know of Bradshaw is in Los 
Angeles, in '47, as a Lieutenant in Fremont's Battalion, where 
his wild freaks astonished the Dons and won the hearts of the 
Dofias, among whom he was a universal favorite. Next, in '51, 
we find him playing the game of heroic chivalry at Mokelumne 
Hill, in the French revolution at that place, which occurred in 
this way and from this cause: The State Legislature had 
passed a foreign miners' tax law, which the French, and there 
was a large colony of them at Mokelumne Hill, refused to pay. 
The Sheriff, who was tax collector ex-officio } summoned a large 
posse to enforce collection. The Frenchmen rallied, raised the 
tri-colored flag, proclaimed their independence, marched in 
armed procession, sang the Marsellaise, and boldly defied the 
power of the State. The Governor ordered out a battalion of 
militia, and appointed Bradshaw to command it. Marshaling 
his warriors, Bill drew up before the Gallic fort, and ordered 
the tri-colored flag to be hauled down, the rebels to lay down 
their arms, and surrender at discretion. The fiery Frenchmen 
flung their defiance in the teeth of the enemy, by a fierce " Vive 
la France," then marched forth in battle array, formed their 
line in front of Bradshaw's men, and dared them to fire the first 
shot, whereupon the clicking of gun-cocks was heard along the 
line of the militia. At this Bradshaw faced his line, and com- 
manded " Order arms," which was generally obeyed. Some' 
however, standing menacingly at a " ready," Bradshaw then 
proceeded to disarm and eject from his line those who had 
dared to disobey his order ; after which he approached the 
French commander, and proposed to him that if blood was to 
be spilled, then let the question involved be then and there 
settled by single combat, the two commanders to be the com- 
batants. This proposition being instantly accepted, the 
preliminaries were gone into, Avhich happily led to an amicable 

adjustment of the unfortunate complications. The rebels 
20 



306 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

pulled down their tri-color, and peace reigned supreme where 
" Grim visaged war had reared his wrinkled front." 

When the question of foreign miner's tax came to be gravely 
discussed, it was decided that the " intent of the Legislature 
was only to tax Chinamen, and that Gauls, Britons, and other 
pugnacious peoples were not included in the miners' tax," and 
right there the whole thing ended except as to the Chinamen, 
who were vigorously pursued and made to feel the full force of 
the law in filling the pockets of the Collector and his legion of 
deputies, for very little of the gold wrung from the non- 
resisting Mongols found its way into either the county or State 
treasuries. Bradshaw won a most honorable distinction in this 
episode of dangerous import, and to him was solely due its 
happy termination. 

Bill was one of the most witty fellows to be found, and 
wherever he stopped a crowd of eager listeners would surround 
him, and roars of merriment would respond to his well "turned 
points. The last time I saw him was at the old St. Nicholas 
Hotel in San Francisco, more commonly known as Arm- 
strong's, on Sansome street, between Commercial and Sacra- 
mento. Bradshaw had just arrived from Tuolumne and found 
at the hotel quite a circle of old friends, including the author, 
Tom Hereford, Bob Wood, Joe McCorkle, then a member of 
Congress, and others, all of whom formed a dinner party in the 
grand dining saloon and occupied a table to themselves. It 
was soon found that Bradshaw's or Bunk's (as he was called, 
from the fact that he came originally from Buncum county, 
South Carolina) drolleries not only kept his own dining com- 
panions in uproarious merriment, but excited attention from 
the occupants of neighboring tables. 

Some one passed a dish of shrimps to Bunk, with the 
" Major, try some of the shrimps ?" " Shrimps ? What are 
shrimps ?" queried Bunk. The desired information hp.ving 
been duly accorded, Bradshaw gravely and with the utmost 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 307 

deliberation soliloquizes as though speaking to himself, holding 
the dish of shrimps in one hand and intently gazing at the con- 
tents: ""Well, these are shrimps! I never heard of a shrimp 
before. "Wonder how they'll do ? The fact is, I've eaten 
snakes, feasted on lizards and gormandized on grasshoppers, and 
thought I had tasted all kinds of human food, but now here's 
something new !" ' Then deliberately taking a large handful of 
the "plagued things," as he called them, went to eating them 
as though they had been wild huckleberries. In a moment the 
whole dining-room was in an uproar of boisterous merriment, 
while Bunk continued eating until he had finished the whole 
dish, shells, claws and all. 

Alas, poor Bradshaw ! A better fellow never lived, and we 
will now in charity draw the sombre curtain of forgetfulness 
over his unfortunate death, which occurred at Bradshaw's ferry 
on the Colorado river in May, 1863. 

The following account of the Bear Flag party I find in my 
scrap-book, cut from one of our California papers some years 
ago, and it being in such perfect harmony with the facts as I 
remember them, I give it as absolutely correct. The " William 
Todd" who painted the Bear Flag is at the present writing, 
1881, one of the most respected citizens of Los Angeles : 

" A great curiosity was awakened by the sudden arrival of a 
young man in Monterey from Mazatlan, in a United States 
sloop of war, having left Washington in November, 1845. The 
young man was Lieutenant Gillespie, of the United States 
Navy, and his immediate inquiry was for Captain Fremont. 
Learning his route he sets out to overtake him with all haste. 
This he succeeds in doing on the southern border of Oregon. 
All the certain knowledge we have of his errand from the 
United States government to Captain Fremont, we must infer 
from the latter's movements. He starts instantly with his 
men on his return to California. 

"This sudden return could not have been in the interest of 



308 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

science. Nor was it for purposes of exploration. Something 
more than these must have been determined on in Washington, 
in November, 1845, to have necessitated the sending of a spe- 
cial messenger with all possible speed such a long distance to 
communicate with Captain Fremont. What it was, it is easy 
enough now to discover, when we observe that war with Mexico 
breaks out on the Rio Grande on the eighth and ninth of May, 
1846, the battles of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Plama being 
fought on those days. And although news of what was going 
on there could not reach here for three months or more, it may, 
with substantial truth, be said that the war broke out at nearly 
the same time in the Sacramento Valley as on the Rio Grande. 

" The sudden reappearance of Captain Fremont and his 
camp at the Buttes, near the mouth of the Feather River, 
called back from his journey by a special messenger from Wash- 
ington, was enough of itself to create instant excitement among 
the settlers throughout the northern valleys. All accounts 
show that they quickly and numerously visited Captain Fre- 
mont's camp, and almost immediately — that is to say, on the 
eighth of June, 1846 — a company of men, consisting of trap- 
pers and hunters, and in part of men belonging to the exploring 
party, went suddenly down to what is now known as Knight's 
Landing, in Yolo county, and captured a band of "horses on the 
way to General Castro, in Monterey, and sending a defiant 
message to Castro by the men in charge, returned with the 
horses to Fremont's camp. 

11 Of course, this was war, as much as that on the Rio 
Grande, and it broke out almost precisely at the same time, 
although the places were thousands of miles apart, and it 
would take several months for the news to pass from one place 
to another. The horses were not l Government horses ' at all, 
as has been generally supposed, but they were General Vallejo's, 
sent by him, forty head of them, for General Castro's use, 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 309 

according to previous promise, but with no idea whatever of 
mounting a force against foreigners. 

"It appears to he very plain that the extraordinary news 
from "Washington was what brought Captain Fremont back 
from Oregon, and the next act that emanates from his camp is 
an act of war. Whether those verbal dispatches authorized him 
to countenance these violent proceedings at this time, we have 
no means of knowing, except by inference from the fact that 
they actually took place with his sanction and co-operation. 
It is but just that the responsibility in this matter should rest 
exactly where it belongs, and that is, on the shoulders of the 
Government of the United States, granting that Captain Fre- 
mont did not exceed his authority. 

" Captain Fremont was an officer of the United States 
Army, and wore its uniform and was acting as he did, after 
having received instructions from his Government direct, at 
great cost. Therefore it would be necessarily understood, 
unless he stated to the contrary, which he did not, that what 
he approved the doing of, the United States sanctioned. And 
it was so understood, and in that belief the men of that day 
acted. 

" The taking of the horses necessitated the doing of more, 
and the doing of it quickly. This, too, was perceived at Captain 
Fremont's camp, and by three o'clock in the afternoon of June 
10, a party of twenty men, led by one Merritt, set out to cap- 
ture Sonoma. Accessions were made to the party on the way, 
and Sonoma was easily taken, for although there were there 
ten pieces of artillery, there was n'ot a solitary soldier there 
at the time, except General Vallejo's orderly, and in the cap- 
ture not a gun was fired. 

" General Vallejo says that they made prisoners of himself, 
Captain Salvador Vallejo, and Colonel Victor Prudhomme, on 
the morning of Sunday, June 14, 1846. Jacob P. Leese accom- 
panied the prisoners to Captain Fremont's camp, at General 



310 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

Vallejo'b request, as interpreter, and on their arrival there, Mr. 
Leese was also made prisoner. 

"By Captain Fremont's order, these four prisoners were 
taken to Slitter's Fort, and Major John Bidwell was directed 
by him to see that they were safely kept. Major Bidwell 
afterwards turned over his charge to another, and went to 
Sonoma, joining the company there and continuing in the 
service till the close of hostilities in 1847. The prisoners were 
retained at the fort about sixty days, until the change of 
flag in the country had been fully effected, when they were 
released by order of Commodore Stockton. Of the party of 
thirty-three men who took Sonoma, twenty-four were left to 
hold possession of ic. 

" Organizing themselves into a company, they chose William 
B. Ide, Captain. At this moment they notice that the Mexican 
flag is still flying at the top of the flag-staff. It is at once 
hauled down, but what shall go up in its place ? They are 
perplexed. They must have some kind of a flag flying. They 
think about a "lone star," but they know that Texas has 
appropriated that. 

" They are agreed that they will have a star in their flag, but 
they tax their wits to have some other device as well. A piece 
of common cloth is obtained, and one of the men named Wil- 
liam Todd proceeds to paint, from a pot of red paint, a star in 
the corner. 

" Henry L. Ford, one of the party, proposes to paint on the 
center, facing the star, a grizzly bear. This is unanimously 
agreed to, and the grizzly bear was painted accordingly. 
When it was done, the flag was taken to the flag-staff and 
hoisted, amid the hurrahs of the little party. So came into 
existence the ' Bear Flag,' which has become historic in Cali- 
fornia. 

" Accounts vary somewhat relative to it, especially as to the 
exact date of its raising ; but as General Vallejo gives the date 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 



311 



of the capture of Sonoma to have been June 14, 1846, and the 
flag was raised on the same day, it seems to be the best 
evidence of the true date. Of course a proclamation was issued 
in the name of the party, giving reasons for the course they 
were taking, and announcing their purposes. 




312 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 



CHAPTEli XXVIII. 

The Halcys Again — Loss of the " Yankee Blade " — Timely Arrival of the 
"Goliah" — The Roughs on the Wrecked Steamer — Gallant Exploit of 
Captain Haley in Rescuing the Unfortunates — How the Roughs "Were 
Handled on the "Goliah" — The Russian Frigate "Diana" and the 
French Man of War " Ambuscade " — The Great Japan Tidal Wave — 
Great Destruction of Shipping— The " Sea Bird " Rides Through It. 




Haley's were the first names mentioned in this 
truthful history, in the first chapter of which I paid 
a passing tribute to glorious old Bob, so his friends, 
and he had no enemies, called him. In Bob the old saying 
that '"'every marked and sterling character has enemies" was 
negatived. Bob was a marked character, yet in my long 
knowledge of and acquaintance with Bob Haley I never saw 
the man that could be his enemy. One reason, and the main 
one, I believe, was his great goodness of heart and noble gen- 
erosity. A great part of his life was passed as commander of 
a steamship, and for several years he ran on our coast, and like 
Aleck Bell on the Tombigbee, passengers could travel on his 
boat, money or no money. So great a bore did this become to 
Bully Wright, who owned one of the steamships that Bob 
commanded, that to put a stop to the practice he commenced 
to charge him for every deadhead passenger he carried, so the 
result was that when poor Bob's wages became due there was 
nothing due him. This made no difference whatever, the cap- 
tain would carry deadheads any way, even when their passage 
was charged to hint by his owners. Alas ! poor Bob Haley ! 
his likes never trod the deck of a steamer. 

Captain Saulsbury Haley,. Bob's brother, was much of the 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 313 

same ilk, certainly too much so for his financial credit and his 
general pecuniary prosperity. (I believe, in fact I am sure, 
that Haley, in his old age, has got over that particular trait.) 
I think, however, that Saulsbury was the best manager of 'a 
steamship and the most daring seaman I ever knew, and by 
your leave, reader, this adventurous Ranger has had some 
experience nautical withal, and once made a voyage from New 
York to Havana on a canal boat, so in pronouncing Saulsbury 
a competent and daring seaman the writer declares his knowl- 
edge whereof he speaks. I made many trips up and down the 
coast with Captain S. Haley, on one of which I venture to say 
he performed one of the most remarkable, dangerous and suc- 
cessful nautical feats known in the history of seamanship. 

It has often occurred to me that there is a certain defect in 
our system of republican government and society-. In ancient 
Rome, if a Roman saved the life of a Roman, he was crowned 
with laurels, a distinction that singled him out and made him 
superior to his fellows. A most proper thing was this to do, a 
most honorable incentive to deeds of heroism in flood, field, and 
fire. The French, in imitation of their Latin ancestors, reward 
acts of distinguished merit by decorations, with the " Cross of 
the Legion of Honor." How does our Government reward our 
heroes for acts of conspicuous daring ? Why, it just don't 
reward them at all, and if our boasted American nation 
degenerates into a race of pusilanimous poltroons, then the 
Government will reap the reward of their own folly in not con- 
ferring marks of honorable distinction, as did the Romans, as 
do the French and every other nation under the sun. Now I 
repeat, that if the Roman who saved the life of a fellow-Roman 
was crowned with laurels, then the hero of the present remi- 
niscence, Captain Haley, should wear a crown as ponderous as 
tho dome of St. Peter's, or, if a Frenchman, would be entitled 
to wear a cross as large as that which surmounts the Church of 
Notre Dame. For, reader, in the adventure which I am about 



314 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

to relate, Captain Haley, by his bravery, humanity and superior 
seamanship, saved the lives of more than five hundred men, 
women, and children ; and now I am going to tell you how it 
was. 

Haley commanded the Goliah, a staunch craft, now, in 1881, 
doing good service on Puget Sound. She first kissed the briny 
deep at the mouth of the Mississippi, in 1846, having been 
built for a tow-boat of great power. The Goliali carried a few 
passengers, among whom were Aleck Bell, the author, Captain 
Burt, a man of nautical note at the time, also Charley 
Mathews, John Brannan, John McMullen, and a party of 
adventurers, mostly Texans, armed cap-a-pie, and on their 
way as a pioneer prospecting party to Arizona. If I am not 
mistaken, Grant Oury was of the party. We sailed past the 
•Golden Gate at about four o'clock, having been preceded about 
six hours by the great Pacific Mail Steamship Company's 
steamer Sonora, and the Yankee Blade, an opposition steamer, 
with about 1200 passengers. This was in October. '54. We 
steamed beautifully on our way all night, stopping at way 
ports during the day, and early on the second morning ran into 
a heavy fog bank, ajid were feeling our way along carefully, 
when all at once we heard the roar of breakers close on our port 
quarter, which created quite an alarm. Haley at once com- 
menced to change our course more to starboard, when, above 
the roar of the breakers, which was not heavy, we heard 
the cry of a thousand human voices for help. It seemed 
•as though we were rapidly nearing the breakers and the 
place from whence proceeded the cries for help. In a few 
minutes we were headed off from the roar of the breakers and 
the sounds of human woe. Nothing is more solemnly terri- 
fying than to be on shipboard near the breakers and in a fog 
bank, but add to this the knowledge of being in close proxi- 
mity to a wreck is awe added to terror, and is paralyzing to the 
bravest heart. About the time, we were headed off, the fog 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 315 

lifted almost as perceptibly as the raising of a curtain, and lo ! 
within a cable's length lay a large steamer, which proved to be 
the Yankee Blade a hopeless wreck, her deck swept by the 
breakers and the hundreds of passengers in the rigging, on the 
roofs and bridge, clinging to the rail and shrouds, presenting 
one of the most awful pictures one can well imagine. The sea 
was comparatively smooth, yet the swell was heavy and the 
breakers were rough. The wrecked steamer lay considerable 
distance from the shore, head on, having settled on a sunken 
rock which pierced her bottom amidships, 0:1 the northwest side 
of Point Arguello, the most northern point of Point Concep- 
cion, and had struck at about_ midnight. She was many miles 
out of her direct route, which at the time was ascribed to one 
of two causes — one was a great variation in the magnetic 
needle caused by a supposed local attraction, and the second 
that a crowd of organized roughs had taken passage on board 
the ill-fated steamer with intent to beach and rob her, there 
being the regular bi-monthly shipment of one and a half 
million or more dollars in gold dust, besides that carried by 
the passengers; that the roughs had surreptitiously changed 
the compass, which caused the stranding of the steamer as we 
have found her. This last proposition was supported by the 
fact that as soon as the steamer settled, the roughs first broke 
into the store-room and captured the liquors, and then com- 
menced the pillage of passengers, many of the crew uniting 
with the roughs. They also possessed themselves of the boats, 
and when sufficient gold had been secured, was placed in a 
boat manned by them, and started for the shore. The boat 
swamped in the breakers and the pirates and their gold went 
down together. The other of the steamer's boats were lost in 
the same manner, until but one small boat of capacity to 
carry a half dozen people at a time remained. The stern of 
the Yankee Blade had settled to thirty feet below the water 
level and her head had raised correspondingly high, so that her 



316 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

deck line was at an angle of about forty degrees. The 
wounded monster labored heavily and was liable at any mo- 
ment to break in two amidships. It was a marine impossibility 
to approach her with a boat in the ordinary way, and Captain 
Haley resolved upon a plan that seemed original and extremely 
dangerous to his own vessel, and as expressed by many seamen 
on board at the time, as most certain to insure the destruction 
of the Goliah. 

When remonstrated with on the fool-hardy venture, Captain 
Haley said : " It is the only possible way to save those unfor- 
tunate people. There are over a thousand of them while there 
is less than a hundred of us, and . if they are lost then we will 
go together." The plan adopted and carried out was as fol- 
lows: The Goliah being headed off backed in as near the wreck 
as deemed safe, and a buoy was attached to a line, dropped 
overboard and drifted to and was secured and drawn on board 
the Yankee Blade, to which was attached the ship's great 
hawser which, in turn, was hauled on board the Goliah, and 
when safely secured steam was turned on and the hawser was 
drawn taut, then the anchors of the Goliah were carried 
ahead and cast, and heaving ahead on the windlas, as well as 
the steam propelling force, drew that hawser as taut as a 
fiddle string. The next thing was to swing one of the Goliah's 
boats by loops to this hawser, attach a line to one end of the 
boat, float the end of the line on board the wrecked steamer, by 
which the boat was drawn over, sometimes being suspended 
high above the water, and having another rope attached to her 
she was drawn back to the Goliah laden with living freight. 
And Oh ! such freight as came off in the first few trips of our 
hammock-like craft. The roughs had full control on board 
the unfortunate craft, and were the first to be saved. Haley 
roared through his trumpet to the captain of the Yankee 
Blade, " Send the women and children off first." Still the 
roughs must be thinned out before the officers could control the 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 317 

debarkation. In an hour one hundred roughs were on board 
the Goliah, and the women and children commenced to cross 
the bridge in a lively manner, and soon it became necessary to 
commence to dispose of our accumulated cargo of living freight. 
The two remaining boats of the Goliah having found a safe 
lauding place, now commenced to remove the accumulating 
cargo to the land; for bear in mind, reader, the Goliah was, as 
compared with the wrecked monster, a mere launch. Up to 
this time, however, the Goliah 's people had not heard of the 
roughs and their piratical acts on board the Yankee Blade. 
However, those who had come on board took possession of the 
cabins, including the ladies', and when requested by Captain 
Haley to vacate in favor of the rescued women and chil- 
dren informed him that they had commanded " the Yankee 
Blade and while on board the Goliah would do as they 
thought proper." Haley remonstrated with them in vain, and 
being informed by a lady passenger of their character and 
doings on board the wreck, took a most decided step to subject 
them to absolute control. In the meantime the sea rolled, and 
the staunch old Goliah, God bless her, strained, groaned and 
writhed in agony as a living victim when stretched upon a 
rack, and all on board thought she would be pulled in pieces 
Haley called on Aleck Bell and asked him to organize in one 
compact body, make a sudden assault on the roughs and drive 
them forward into the steerage and place them under guard, 
but in no case was a revolver to be fired, unless in absolute 
self-defense. "Hit them over the heads," said Haley, "but 
don't shoot; I desire this to be a bloodless victory." Still the 
successful transfer of passengers went bravely ,on. Soon the 
armed Goliah' s passengers, under Aleck Bell, quietly (all who 
were not seasick), by a successful manoeuvre, took possession of 
the after end of the cabin and Aleck gave the order, "All of 
the men in this cabin will go forward to the steerage; the cabin 
is to be exclusively devoted to the ladies and children." No 



318 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

one moved. " Charge 'em, boys," said Aleck, at the same time 
belting; a rough bully on the head with his revolver, and "at 
'em" it was. The onset was so sadden, so unexpected, so 
different from what they looked for, that they at once gave 
way, and like sheep were driven into the steerage, where John 
McMullen, with a picked guard, kept them until Captain 
Burt and Charley Mathews, both passengers, in command of 
boats, were ready to commence removing the rapidly accumu- 
lating living cargo to the providentially found landing place. 
Then the roughs were marched out of the steerage in detach- 
ments through files armed with revolvers, placed in the Goliah's 
boats and sent on shore. 

All day the transfer of passengers went on, without an acci- 
dent ; all day the gallant Goliah groaned, labored and creaked, 
with waves sometimes breaking over her bows and washing her 
decks. Still no accident had occurred, and at sunset the last 
soul on board the wreck had been safely transferred to the 
Goliah, nearly half of whom had been retransferred to the land, 
with water and provisions enough landed with them to do them 
for a day or two, and this brilliant nautical feat was a splendid 
success. But none too soon, for by this time the wind had 
commenced to blow, and by dark had become a gale, and by 
the time the Goliah was well clear of her dangerous neighbor, 
and before dark obscured our vision the gallant Yankee Blade, 
with her golden treasure, broke in two amidships, and sunk in 
deep water. The gallant Goliah, with her happy crew, brave 
commander, and thankful passengers, after a rough night of it, 
reached Santa Barbara, discharged a part of her human freight, 
and thence to San Pedro, where more were put on shore, while 
the remainder were taken to San Diego and left, and the 
staunch old steamer hurried back, and took on board all that 
had been landed on the beacli at the place of the wreck, and 
carried them in safety to San Francisco, all without a single 
casualty ; and save some forty or fifty lives that were lost in 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 319 

the swamping of the boats of the Yankee Blade before the- 
Goliah arrived, all of that hive of human beings were carried 
back in safety to San Francisco. Will the reader now agree 
with the author, that the gallant Captain Haley was entitled 
to a reward of honor equal to any ever conferred by ancient 
Rome or modern France ? And had he been an Englishman,, 
the Cross of Victoria, at least, would have been conferred on 
him, to be treasured up as a reminder to his descendants of the 
noble deed of their ancestor. 

Haley commanded the Sea Bird in '52. He commanded 
her again in '55 and '56. That floating beauty came near, in 
'55, sharing the fate of a Russian frigate, a United States war 
ship, and a large number of other vessels that were lost, and 
from the same cause, to wit: the great Japan tidal wave. 
Some of our readers will remember that early in '55, the Rus- 
sian frigate Diana sailed northward along our coast and 
entered the harbor of San Francisco, which created quite a 
sensation, as the French frigate Ambuscade was then -riding 
quietly at anchor in the harbor, and the Diana dropped her 
mud hooks within pistol shot of the Ambuscade. We all 
thought they would go beyond the legal marine league and 
have a pitched battle, the Crimean war bsing then in full 
blast. 

Not so, however. The two warlike antagonists frowned on 
each other, and that was all. except that when it happened 
that sailors from the two hostile craft would meet on shore, 
broken heads and bloody noses would be the result, until the 
authorities intervened and it was mutually agreed that when the 
Parlez Vous went on shore the Bears on board the Diana would 
be notified by signal and remain on board until the French 
sailors returned. The Diana people did the same in respect to 
the Ambuscade and everything moved quietly along until one 
day the Diana beat to quarters, hove up her anchor, played 
some warlike Russian air, spread her sails and proudly passed 



320 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGEK. 

out of the Golden Gate. All San Francisco was on the tiptoe 
of excitement expecting, as a matter of course, the Ambuscade 
would go forth and engage her. Such, however, was not the 
case. The Ambuscade rode quietly at her anchor and the 
Diana sailed northward touching at Sitka, and at last crossed 
over and came to anchor in the harbor of Yokohama in ten 
fathoms of water. Now this may have been in the latter part 
of the year '55, but at the time there occurred in the Japan 
Islands some tremendous earthquakes which made match wood 
of the Diana and left her and her anchors on dry land where 
before was ten fathoms of water. There was great destruction 
of shipping in the Japan seas. A United States war ship was 
lost and hundreds of vessels were never heard from, and this 
great earthquake in Japan caused a tidal wave which reached 
and struck our coast in thirty-eight hours, traveling at the rate 
of over two miles a minute. The tidal gauge at San Diego 
showed a rise or twelve feet in one night, a most remarkable 
circumstance. 

This immense wave struck our little sea swan, so she should 
have been called, at about daylight off Point Pedro, seventeen 
miles S. E. of the Golden Gate, she being the only vessel out- 
side the heads at the time, and the only one that ever gave 
any account of its appearance and effect. -Haley sat beside the 
pilot-house and was sleeping in his chair. First Officer How- 
land was on watch and saw in the dim distance the coming 
danger and awoke the captain. When thus seen it was appar- 
ently about ten miles off and looked like an immense black 
cloud, such as we see in the tropics. Whatever it was, danger 
therefrom was imminent. The passengers were aroused and 
ordered to prepare themselves and stand ready with their 
life-preservers. The brave little steamer was brought to and 
made to look the danger square in the face and by the time 
this was done the black, white crested roaring wall of water 
was almost upon them. Ports were hastily closed, windows 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 321 

and doors shut, hatches battened down, and everything put in 
ship-shape to meet the unlooked for danger and ride through 
or go under it and down forever. Very little swell preceded it. 
Howland, assisted by the Quartermaster, took the wheel, the 
watch caught on to the rigging, and as the roaring wrath 
of mighty ocean towered in its threatening grandeur above 
them, Haley shouted " Steady, Howland, steady ! " " Steady 
it is, sir ! " was the firm response, and in a moment the decks 
of the gallant steamer were deluged with rushing water. The 
vessel was absolutely .submerged; the mighty force of the ocean 
was over her, under and around her, roaring, hissing, lashing 
the sides of the frail bark, thumping her bottom and sweeping 
her deck; her boats were smashed, torn from their lashings and 
swept away as though they were snowflakes. The poor craft 
trembled, groaned and struggled like a living thing to free 
herself from her mighty foe. Man was then made to feel his 
utter insignificance in midst of the mighty ocean when lashed 
into angry fury by '"'Him who holds the sea in the palm of His 
hand." In a few minutes the watery scourge had done its 
worst, and like a thing of life the proud little sea queen shook 
the. billows from her palpitating bosom and was free. 




322 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 



CHAPTER XXIX. 

More Pioneer Staging — Banning Again — A Rough Ride — Dangerous 
Driving — Fort Tejon and Its Commander — W. S. Hancock, A. Q. M. — 
The Kern River Excitement — A Grand Rush — The First Train Going 
North — Don David Alexander — A Reminiscence of Cerbol Barelas and 
the Path-Finder — Stoneman and Others. 




first chapter of this history was in part devoted 
to staging between San Pedro and the Angel City. 
Banning was unceremoniously presented to the reader 
therein with far less ceremony than his great importance 
demanded. It is true that in a subsequent chapter this 
pioneer hero was brought to the front of our Fourth of July 
Phalanx in the memorable and patriotic celebration at San 
Pedro in '53, and was designated as General, although at that 
time Banning was not a General, unless, perchance, like Phil 
Sheridan and Napoleon Bonaparte Forest, he was born with 
two stars on each of his shoulders, the truth of which I am 
willing to asseverate and maintain to the bitter end. Banning 
in early times could ride farther with less fatigue than any 
man I ever knew, notwithstanding he was never a light weight. 
He could also drive a stage, six-in-hand, faster and over 
rougher roads and over places where no roads existed than 
any driver who ever cracked whip or pulled the ribbons. 
When Fort Tejon was established the firm of Alexander & 
Banning wished to run a six-horse stage over an old Mexican 
pack trail, and when the whole country declared the impossi- 
bility of such an enterprise, and when no driver could be found 
with sufficient hardihood to assume such responsibility, Ban- 
ning willed the thing to be done, and mounted the box in 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 323 

person and drove the first . stage that ever went out of the 
Valley of the Angels to astonish the aborigines in the moun- 
tain fastnesses beyond. At the time, the trail going over the 
San Fernando pass was a rocky acclivity, difficult of ascent by 
even a pack mule, and descending to the valley beyond with a 
descent of equal abruptness. Standing on the summit and look- 
ing northward a precipice of many hundred feet lay before you. 
By facing about you dizzily marvel at how you reached the 
rocky summit. 

In December '54 Phineas Banning sat on the box of his 
Concord stage, to which were harnessed a half dozen well fed, 
panting and foaming mustangs. He had succeeded in reaching 
the summit of the San Fernando, and the question among 
his nine wondering passengers who had toiled up the moun- 
tain on foot was, how that stage could ever descend, all 
declaring it an act of madness to attempt it. Banning 
laughingly assured them that it "was all right; that a 
man who couldn't drive a stage safely down that hill was no 
driver at all, and should confine himself to ox-teaming in the 
valley." Now he cracks his whip, tightens his lines, whistles 
to his trembling mustangs, and urges them to the brink oi 
the precipice, and in a moment they are going down ! down ! 
down ! racketty clatter bang ! Sometimes the horses ahead of 
the stage, and sometimes the stage ahead of the horses, all, 
however, going down ! down with a crash ! Finally, the con- 
glomeration of chains, harness, coach, mustangs and Banning 
were found by the pursuing passengers in an inextricable mass 
of confusion — contusions, scratches, bruises, batters, cracks and 
breaks, forming a general smash and pile up in a thicket of 
chaparral at the foot of the mountain. 

" Didn't I tell you so," said Banning, "a beautiful descent, 
far less difficult than I anticipated. I intended that staging to 
Fort Tejon and Kern river should be a success. Gentlemen, 
you see my judgment is good." 



324 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

However, Banning sent back a courier in hot haste, urging 
Don David to send fifty men immediately to repair parts of the 
road that he in his descent had knocked out of joint. Twenty- 
two years thereafter the S. P. R. R. Company cleared away the 
thicket in which Banning made his first stage stand, in exca- 
vating their wonderful San Fernando tunnel. This reckless 
demonstration of the practicability of staging out of the valley 
so stimulated our angel merchants, that they raised a fund of 
several thousand dollars, and employe*! such a^ force of men on 
the San Fernando, that in February following Don David 
Alexander and the writer hereof passed over with a train of 
heavy ten-mule teams, which was the first train going north. 
We had a terrible time of it, however, and in the San Francis- 
quito canon were caught in a snow storm, and were three days 
in going one mile, building our road as we advanced. 

Lieutenant-Colonel B. L. Beall, 1st Dragoons, with Winfield 
Scott Hancock as Quartermaster, and Lieutenant John Pegram 
•as Adjutant, founded Fort Tejon in '54. I afterwards, in 1861, 
met Pegram at Beverly, in West Virginia, after his surrender to 
the Great Western Napoleon at Rich Mountain, Pegram having 
commanded the Confederate force at that stronghold, and per- 
mitted himself to be most beautifully outflanked and surrounded 
by McLellan, who cut a road through the mountains, and 
thereby gained his rear. The distress and chagrin of Pegram 
was beyond description. He was ambitious, and had resigned 
his commission in the old, and accepted a Colonelcy in the new 
3,rmy, and to have lost his first command in the way he did was 
ovei whelming to his pride. He, however, retrieved himself, 
and became quite distinguished as a Confederate Brigadier, and 
was killed in one of the great battles fought around Richmond 
during the last days of the lost cause. W. S. Hancock, 
A. Q. M.. became so brilliantly illustrious that no mention of 
him will in this chronicle be necessary. 

Col. Beall, however, deserves some consideration. When 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 325 

nominal commander at Fort Tejon he was old, seventy years, 
and had been on the frontier all his life ; was a case ; indeed 
he was a hard case, and as such his fame extended from the 
Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean. On account of his 
case-hardened character he was seldom permitted to visit 
Washington, or any of the Eastern cities. But once upon a 
time he went, and so scandalized the sober heads at the capital, 
that they hurried him away to fields, in their opinion, more 
congenial, beyond the Mississippi. 

On that occasion, however, he extended his visit to virtuous 
Boston, and was invited to a State dinner presided over by the 
Mayor. It was emphatically a Boston dinner — and the world 
knows that Boston never goes back on her virtuous record, so 
as a consequence, the dinner to which this rollicking old 
frontier Colonel was invited was a temperance dinner. When 
the guests were seated and dining commenced, Colonel Beall 
was astonished at not seeing decanters, bottles, and all of the 
paraphernalia of the kind of dinner he had anticipated. Time 
wore apace and no bottle appeared. The Colonel became dis- 
consolate. It was to him a cruel disappointment. It was 
emphatically a dry dinner. Some toasts were dryly given and 
dryly responded to. and the Colonel was called upon to respond 
to a toast "The Army," but flatly refused, saying that he had 
" never made a speech in his life." "Well, then," said the 
President, " Colonel, tell us a story; something about the 
campaigns through which you have passed." " A story ! " "A 
story ! " demanded the dinner party. 

" I will tell you the story of 'The Ghost of New Mexico/" 

'•' G-ood ! A ghost story," cried the party with due Boston 
decorum and gravity. 

" Well," began the Colonel, " It was in 1846, the army was 
crossing the plains in the march on New Mexico, and went into 
camp, dry and dusty, within two days' march of Sante Fe. It 
was late when our tents were pitched and the sentinels posted 



326 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

for the night. We were over vigilant, as being so near the New 
Mexican capital we didn't know at what moment the enemy's 
cavalry might pounce upon us. The night was dark and dis- 
mal; the wind blew in fitful gusts and the tents fluttered and 
flapped, and a general gloom seemed to pervade the whole 
encampment. To relieve my own disquiet I visited the 
marquee of a neighboring officer, and found quite a number of 
visitors, who, like myself, were in quest of something wherewith 
to sooth the dismal cravings of the spirit. A game of seven-up 
was proposed for liquor, and on the first wager being won and 
lost it was discovered that some untoward accident had befallen 
the sutler and not a drop was to be had for love or money. 
We looked at each other in dismay — a night without something 
to drink ! Such a direful calamity had not been contemplated 
by the most despondent 'of our party, and the announcement 
was a blow; indeed it was, gentlemen. Still, we agreed to play 
on, and if by the favor of providence a supply should ever be 
reached then each loser would pay up and we would make 
amends for this night of dire disappointment. The g;ime went 
on dolefully. 

" The wind continued to blow, and the tent rocked to and 
fro in its determined efforts to keep its pins, the sentries paced 
their beats, the coyotes howled, the horses neighed, and the 
mules let off brays of solemn distress. It was midnight — the 
hour when ghosts do walk abroad. We played, but scarce a 
word was spoken. My back was toward the opening of the 
tent, and instinctively I turned around, feeling that some one 
was entering, and oh ! horror ! My blood froze in my veins, my 
eye-balls almost burst from th^ir sockets, and my tongue clove 
to the roof of my mouth, as I vainly tried to speak. I beheld 
standing within the marquee a tall, gaunt form, clad in the 
habiliments of the grave, its bony arm extended, and its finger 
raised in solemn admonition. Like myself, my comrades sat 
frozen and speechless. Not a word, save those sepulchral 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 327 

sounds of doleful import which came from the ghost. It 
spoke" — and the Colonel, in apparent exhaustion, with his 
hands clasped upon his breast, leaned back in his chair and 
groaned. 

"What did it say ?" was the general inquiry. 

" What did it say ? " echoed the Colonel. " What should it 
have said ? It spoke such words as had never before been 
heard by any of that congregation of warriors, such words as I 
fear to repeat, such words as I hope never more to hear on this 
earth " — and again the Colonel groaned. 

" What did it say ? " queried the excited listeners. 

"What did it say?" re-echoed the Colonel. "It said: 
' Gentlemen ! Oil ! gentlemen ! gentlemen ! it's a long time 
between DRINKS ! ' ' 

It is needless to say that for once Boston relaxed its gravity, 
and that for once wine flowed freely at the winding up of a 
Boston dinner party ; because even the people of Boston could, 
and did on that occasion, take a liquid hint, and Boston never 
does things by halves, and as a consequence liquidated liberally. 
Col. Beall ever spoke in terms of affectionate remembrance of 
that liquid Boston dinner party. 

In saying Colonel Beall was the nominal commander at Fort 
Tejon, the same can be said as to- the Quartermaster, the truth 
being, as I verily believe, that the gallant General Phineas 
Banning ran the post, as he did his supply trains and his six- 
horse stages. He ran Fort Tejon as in yore he ran San Pedro, 
and as he always has Wilmington, city and harbor. Whatever 
Banning suggested at the fort was done, and nothing was done 
unless he was consulted. From Fort Tejon to Los Angeles is 
120 miles — as rough a road as is to be found anywhere. Ban- 
ning used to ride it in a day on horseback, leaving the fort after 
sunrise and arriving at Los Angeles sometimes by four o'clock 
p. M. I make this statement on personal knowledge. 

Banning was always lucky. In his reckless staging nine 



328 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

men out of every ten would have broken their bones, if noth- ' 
ing worse. He once made a miraculous escape from a frightful 
marine disaster. He owned a pretty little steamer called the 
Ada Hancock, before the harbor improvements at "Wilmington, 
used for carrying passengers to the steamers at their anchorage. 
On one of her trips down the bay her boiler exploded, killing 
Captain Seely of the coast steamer and many of the passengers. 
Banning was not blown over the clouds, because it was on a 
cloudless day, but he was blown high enough and far enough 
to land him on a sand bar safe and sound. The General was 
born at Wilmington, Delaware, and is fifty-one years old. 

Now to come back to Don David Alexander, of whom I 
spoke in a former chapter, and of his story-telling talents. 
On that trip to Kern River with those heavy teams, in our 
camps at night, after strong coffee, before a blazing, com- 
fortable fire, with a good cigar, Don David forgeting the 
terrible annoyances and harassing labors of the day, and his 
oft-repeated declaration that "this is only a pack-mule 
country, that none other than a madman would attempt the 
passage of these mountains with wagons, and if he did any 
more freighting hitherward it would be in the only sensible, 
practicable way, by pack-mules." * * * * ° One year 
and a half more than a quarter of a century has passed and 
Don David, hale and hearty, strong and stubborn, now whirls 
over his "pack-mule country" in the palace cars of that mar- 
vel of the age, the Southern Pacific Railroad Company. The 
memory of Don David may not be as strong and enduring as 
his rawhide constitution, and I take pleasure in reminding him 
of the wonderful change that has taken place in the manner 
and time of traversing the roughest of our southern Sierras, 
and point to him what science, money and well directed enter- 
prise can do and has done for even a "pack-mule country." 
Forgetting the troubles of the day under the exhilaration of 
coffee and cigar, Don David would tell us a story, and on one- 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 329 

occasion he told me of his capture, imprisonment and parol 
by the Californians. 

During the war between the United States and Mexico Don 
David was made prisoner at the Chino Ranch, with the com- 
pany under Capt. B. D. Wilson. Cerbol Barelas and Diego 
Sepulveda commanded the captors of this party, most of whom, 
having lived so long under the Mexican flag, and having par- 
taken of all of the good things of this angel land, were looked 
upon by their irate captors as traitors deserving death ; conse- 
quently there was a general clamor that the traitor gringos 
should be shot. At this point as noble a character came to the 
front as ever wielded a lance or wore knightly spur. Santa 
Ana. President of Mexico, a man first among the rulers of the 
earth, of superior learning, of pure Castilian blood, a warrior 
of renown, cast a blot, a stain, an indelible blotch, upon the 
fame of Mexico, by his treacherous cruelty in butchering, in 
cold blood, the captive partisans of the Texas revolution. 
Cerbol Barelas, a native of Los Angeles, a man whose only 
education consisted in superior horsemanship, throwing the 
lasso, and the use of the lance, redeemed his countrymen from 
the stigma cast upon them by Santa Ana. When the wild 
warriors of the California plains clamored for the blood of the 
captive gringos, Don Cerbol — yes, Don Cerbol ! a Don in the 
fullest meaning of the word — interposed for their protection, 
saying that while he lived, and could wield a lance in their 
defence, not one gringo should be harmed ; " that they had 
surrendered to him, that his honor and good faith were 
plighted, and on the honor of a man he would defend them ;" 
and during the four months of captivity endured by these 
gringos, the noble Cerbol watched over them as though they 
had been his own children. Sometimes, with a few trusty fol- 
lowers, with his sacred charge, he would conceal himself in the 
mountains, to escape the wrath of his less chivalrous country- 
men. Alas ! poor Cerbol ! your honest heart has long since 



380 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

become food for worms. The gringos have forgotten thee 
and thy noble generosity, save the few survivors of thy generous 
protection, who will soon meet thee at the judgment seat of 
Him who faileth not in His rewards. 

If my memory is right, Don David, after his capture at 
Chino, was paroled and became the guest and protege of the 
Mission priest at San Fernando, and at about the beginning of 
the year '47 rumors floated along and reached San Fernando of 
the coming, like a northern blast, of the gringos of the upper 
country under the immortal "Pathfinder." 

The rumors were that the coming torrent of vandal invasion 
swept everything before it, showing no respect for age, sex, con- 
dition, or the rights of private property. The god-father who 
had so hospitably sheltered and protected Don David inquired 
of him if it would not be better to betake himself to the 
mountains for safety until the tornado had swept by. Don 
David assured him on the honor of an American that these 
rumors of outrage and pillage were false. " You judge these 
men who fill the ranks of General Fremont from your own 
standpoint," said the priest. "You forget the class of men 
they are — hunters, trappers, outlaws, half-breed Indians, French 
voyageurs and all of the mountain adventurers that could be 
collected from the Columbia river to Monterey." Don David 
answered that notwithstanding that many of the men forming 
Fremont's command were, or might be, bad characters, that 
Colonel Fremont was an officer of high rank in the army of 
the United States, and that for him to permit such acts of 
pillage as was charged against his command would be more 
than his commission was worth. Upon this assurance the good 
father concluded to stand by his altar and trust to his saints 
and the chivalry of the Pathfinder. At about four o'clock one 
afternoon the "storm" struck San Fernando and made things 
fly, but soon it subsided and things went well enough for 
the night. In the morning the battalion mounted and rode 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 331 

rapidly over the twelve mile stretch of plain to the Cahuenga 
pass, where an intrenched army with frowning artillery con- 
fronted it. And right there at that old adobe house, a 
part of the walls of which are yet standing, at the opening 
of this famous pass that was not, jet might have been, a 
modern Thermopjlce, was achieved the greatest military tri- 
umph known to history, eclipsing in brilliancy the battle of 
Providencia itself. As Fremont approached Cahuenga he was 
met by a truce party, and a parley ensued, and the treat} 
of Cahuenga was the result. Colonel Fremont was the high 
contracting party on the part of the United States, and Gen- 
eral Andres Pico represented the Republic of Mexico. General 
Pico proposed to disband his army at Cahuenga. the officers 
retaining their private arms. All of. the arms, artillery, and 
munitions of war belonging to the Mexican Government at 
Cahuenga should be delivered to Colonel Fremont, and he was 
to be permitted to march without opposition to Los Angeles. 
That after the treaty was signed, General Pico was to have two 
hours in which to stack his arms and retire his forces from the 
fortifications. Then Fremont was to march in and possess the 
spoil. On the other hand, Colonel Fremont agreed that the 
army under General Pico should be permitted to retire peace- 
ably to their homes, and should there remain unmolested, and 
that certain officers who. under Cerbol Barelas had in Septem- 
ber previous violated their paroles theretofore given should be 
pardoned; and to this the gringo commander pledged the faith 
of the gringo government. 

The treaty was signed in duplicate, each high contracting 
party retaining one copy. When this was done, General Pico, 
with not over forty followers retired from the fortifications at 
Cahuenga, and the gringo conqueror marched in to reap the 
reward of his victory. 

Two batteries of artillery, consisting of a dozen California 
live oak logs, mounted on so many native carretas, became the 



332 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

spoils of the victors. One old blunderbuss that, from the date 
graven on its brazen barrel, suggested former service in the 
seige of Granada, two old flint-lock Spanish horse-pistols, and 
about forty Mexican ox-goads with flaming red pennons 
thereto attached, made a full inventory of the spoils which, by 
virtue of the great treaty of Cahuenga, passed forever from the' 
hands of humbled Mexico and went to enrich the arsenals of 
the gringo nation. Smothering his pent-up wrath, the hero of 
Cahuenga put spurs to his Cayuse charger, and with the fires 
of revenge burning in his bosom, followed in hot haste by his 
buckskin batallion, hurried on to Los Angeles, where booty and 
beauty awaited their coming in plentiful profusion. With 
their wild war song of : 

" Hail to the Chief who stole the injun's blanket," 

the northern barbarians, with the Pathfinder at their head, 
entered the Angel city to suffer another disappointment, 
more direful than that of Cahuenga. They found that the 
"army of the west," under Brigadier General W. S. Kearney, 
consisting of U. S. dragoons and the Mormon battalion under 
Lieutenant-Colonel Philip St. George Cook, of the Regular 
Army, and some marines and volunteers, had been quietly 
settled down in the Angel capital for near a fortnight and were 
preserving the most perfect order, and the angels of peace were 
as secure in person and property as though they were domicil- 
iated in orderly Boston. The Pathfinder, however, not at all 
abashed and determined to carry out the role of conquerer, 
obtained the elegant and commodious house of the patriotic 
Captain Alex. Bell, the same building that now stands at 
the corner of Los Angeles and Aliso streets, then the 
best house in California, quartered his men on the ground 
floor and up stairs hung up his hat, issued a proclamation 
and declared himself Governor of California by virtue of 
the conquest of the country at Cahuenga, gathered around 
him some dilapidated Dons and questionable Donas, gave an 



REMINISCENCES OF A EANGER. 333 

inaugural ball, and enacted in miniature the same part that 
he played so grandly at St. Louis fifteen years thereafter. 
General Kearney the dignified, Phillip St. George Cook, 
the beau ideal of the cavalry man, and Major Emery, of 
the Engineer Corps, at first treated this attempt to play the 
Governor -as & second edition of Sancho Panza in his govern- 
ment of Barataria, were soon brought to regard the matter in 
a more serious light, and General Kearney felt constrained to 
place the Governor under arrest and take him overland to 
Washington. General Kearney made an order tha,t on the 
inarch the Pathfinder would be permitted to encamp within a 
certain distance of the General, and the same was maintained 
on the long journey. 

When the Governor was well seated in his authority, as he 
thought, he sought out a Mexican tailor, who in a brief space 
of time assisted the Governor to don a pair of open-legged pan- 
taloons (calzoneros), of parti-colored cloth, red. green, and gold, 
interspersed with scallops of purple velvet, with silver bell but- 
tons extending from hip to bottom. Under the calzoneros he 
wore Mexican drawers of delicate white muslin, with each leg a 
yard wide ; shoes of black buckskin, with very short round toes 
and high heels. Over his calzonzillos, or drawers, and reaching 
to the knee, he wore the Mexican bota, made of leather, em- 
broidered in gold, silk, and silver, into which the Governor 
thrust his silver-hilted knife. Around his gubernatorial waist 
he wore a gaudy Mexican sash, at least five yards long. A 
very short embroidered jacket was donned by his Excellency. 
A red vicuna hat, with gold cords and tassels, surmounted the 
head of California's gringo Governor, and, as he thought, com- 
pleted his expensive costume, and cost somebody several 
hundred dollars. The Governor, however, was mistaken, as 
the sequel will show ; his costume was not yet complete. One 
of the Lugos, on beholding this wonderful get-up, determined 
to outdo it, and in a few days appeared upon the streets with 



334 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

a suit of clothes which, with his saddle and horse trappings, 
cost over $2000. Besides his gorgeous sash, he wore, tied low 
down on his loins, a great red bandana handkerchief, with the 
points hanging down behind like a swallow-tail coat. The 
Governor saw and gazed upon this strutting jackdaw as it 
flitted by, and until it faded from view in the dim distance ; 
then, pondering abstractedly for a few minutes, hied himself 
to a Mexican dry goods store, purchased two bandanas in one, 
attached them to his rear in lieu of coat-tails by tying the cor- 
ners in front, surveyed himself for a time, and walked into the 
street with every evidence of feeling that he was a conqueror, 
every inch of him. The gringos were justly proud of their 
Governor's Mexican costume. 

The author does not wish to detract from the meritorious 
services of Colonel Fremont in the conquest of California. But 
his services have been so overrated, that persons not familiar 
with the truths of history, believe that no one other than 
Fremont had aught to do in the reduction of this golden land to 
the dominion of the Stars and Stripes. For instance, the 
world believes, and history holds out, that the ancient fortifica- 
tions which overlook our Angel City, were constructed by 
Fremont, while the truth is they were constructed by General 
George Stoneman, and the late General Davidson, alternately 
relieving each other. Also, that the ancient flag-staff at 
Sonoma was raised by Fremont, while the truth again is that 
in 1851, General Stoneman, with strong and patriotic blows, 
wielded the axe that felled the tree that has for thirty years 
withstood storm and decay, and that he did most of the 
manual labor in raising that venerable pole. History also gives 
to Fremont all the honor attending the surrender at Cahuenga, 
and the writer alleges his belief to be that the Pathfinder is 
rightfully entitled to all the honor there was in it. 

The true significance of the Treaty of Cahuenga was this . 
Early in 1846, Commodore Stockton occupied Los Angeles, 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 335 

established himself, and paroled certain Mexican officers, not 
to bear arms during the war unless exchanged. Now certain 
among these officers, in violation of their paroles, took up arms 
under Cerbol Barelas, in September, and drove the garrison 
under Gillespie out of Los Angeles, captured Wilson's com- 
mand at Chino, and reconquered this country to Mexico. 

General Kearney having crossed the plains (after the sharp 
cavalry encounter with General Andres Pico at San Pasqual 
near the Mission San Luis Rey), formed a junction with 
Commodore Stockton at San Diego, marched on Los Angeles, 
and after the battles of San Gabriel and La Mesa, entered and 
occupied Los Angeles on the 8th of January, 1847. 

Those officers who had violated their paroles were now in a 
bad fix — they either had to flee the country or run the chance 
of being arrested and shot. 

General Andres Pico who was yet in the saddle, hearing of 
Fremont's coming, met him at Cahuenga, and throwing dust 
in his eyes as to the re-occupation of Los Angeles, induced him 
to make a treaty and bind the United States to the pardon of 
those officers. 

It was a masterly stroke on the part of Don Andres and 
reflected great credit on him as a diplomat, he having thereto- 
fore demonstrated his prowess on the field. Don Andres was a 
great humorist, and took huge delight in laughing over his 
Quaker demonstrations at Cahuenga. 

General Kearney, in his dispatch to the government, said 
that he thought the pacification of the country demanded his 
approval of Fremont's Cahuenga treaty, and on that ground 
he did approve it. 



336 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 




CHAPTER XXX. 

A Ranger Antiquarian — A Pompeii at Our Back Door — Tehachepi — The 
Robin Hood of the Windy Pass — The Last Relic of a By-gone Race — 
The Valley of Perpetual Bloom — The Ventarron— The Phantom City. 

• 

RANGER is not an antiquarian, and when one writes 
a book of reminiscences he is expected to confine him- 
self to the subject of broils, raids, and frontier life 
generally. 13ut, notwithstanding, the author is going to hazard 
the assertion that the traces of ancient civilization found scat- 
tered over the vast plateau extending from the Rio Grande to 
the Pacific Ocean, as also the ruins found further south, in 
Mexico and Central America, many of which he has examined, 
are not of such remote antiquity as the scientific searchers for 
ancient ruins would lead the world to believe. That either the 
Casa Grande and kindred remains found on the Gila and in 
other parts of Arizona, or Palenque, Quiche, Copan or Quirigua 
found in Central America, are of an antiquity greater than the 
advent of the Spanish conquerors, the writer is constrained to 
question. That all of those places, and many others, the 
remains of which are to be found in all parts of Central 
America, were of very ancient origin, there is no kind uf ques- 
tion ; but that they were deserted by their inhabitants, or that 
they had ceased to be the abiding places of a highly civilized 
and intelligent race of people when Columbus discovered 
America, is not supported by the test of practical experience. 
Antiquarians, in their eager search for the remote, overlook all 
evidence of the modern. It is well known to practical persons 
that timber rots and decays with remarkable rapidity in the 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 337 

humid climate of Central America, yet timber is found in the 
ruins of Palenque, as also in other ruins in Central America, 
and in as good a state of preservation as some found in old 
bridges of masonry intermingled with timber, built by the 
Spaniards after the conquest of the country. The theory that 
those cities were in ruins, and were enveloped in the mists of 
antiquity before the coming of the Spaniard, is not supported, 
when subjected to the tests of common practical experience. 

We may apply a plain, practical test as to the remote anti- 
quity of ruins and remains found in Arizona. It is well known 
that violent storms with drifting sands prevail in that country, 
yet, the traces of irrigating canals are to be found wherever 
large or considerable streams of water are contigious to exten- 
sive bodies of arable lands. How long would the trace of a 
ditch remain in such a country, or even here in California where 
violent winds are scarcely known ? Would they endure the 
corrosions of time and storms for one hundred years, two hun- 
dred years, or at the furthest three hundred years? With the 
writer's observations in that direction, he most emphatically 
maintains that they would not. That these old canals were 
the property of those who inhabited these ruined places, all are 
agreed. Then why not at once discard the preposterous theory 
that the ruins of Arizona verge even on the borders of remote 
antiquity, and accept the one that by Spanish spoliation and 
conquest the former people of Arizona have been driven from 
their civilized abodes and become the prey of the fierce Apache, 
or, that pestilence, famine, or some other reasonable cause has, 
left their lands waste.and their habitations and temples in ruins. 
Antiquarians not only look too far, but they generally go too 
far for common sense practical research. For instance, if one of 
our angels should be inclined to investigate the vestiges of 
antiquity, he would hie himself to the Pyramids, and take a 
look at the mysterious characters engraven on those time- 
honored remains, and return to us looking as wise as an owl, 
22 



338 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

and would really know as much of the Pyramids as did the 
donkey or the dragoman who carried him thither. On his 
return he might take in Pompeii and Herculaneura, and hy the 
time he reached his modern- angel home he would at least feel 
entitled to a degree with A. M. attached to his former title, if 
any be had, and if he undertook to lecture to us wondering 
angels on Pompeii and Herculaneum, he' could tell us just ahout 
as much of the wonders of those long buried cities as could the 
dead dog of the 2,000 years dead Diornede. But if our angel 
antiquarian should shoulder his shovel and walk out of our 
back door into the Mojave desert and go to work excavating, 
he could unearth a modern Herculaneum that has lain buried 
not more than three hundred years, and about the great buried 
city of the Mojave, the center of a civilization not remote, but 
still a populous city, situated in the "valley of perpetual 
bloom," buried and hidden from the face of man only about 
one hundred and fifty years before the Jesuitical explorers first 
set their sandled feet in this valley of the angels ; to write 
what he knows, or has learned of that buried 'mystery, will now 
be the task of this antique Ranger. 

A tradition has existed, and really exists now, that the 
Mojave desert was once a fruitful, beautiful and well watered 
valley, that the mountains, those we call the Sierra Madre, 
but which in point of fact are the Sierra Nevada, were covered 
with soil and verdure, that there came a terrible wind that 
denuded the mountains of their soil, blew the rocks bare and 
filled up the beautiful Mojave beyond, leaving it the howling 
waste as seen to-day, the home of the coyote, the hideous, 
burning plain of drifting sands, whereon so many ill-fated 
miners have wandered and perished of heat and thirst. Don 
Francisco Garcia, the oldest man in the City of Angels, who 
came here more than eighty years ago a Spanish soldier, and yet 
marches on foot in our patriotic processions, says he conversed 
with many Indians, who remembered hearing their ancestors 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 339 

speak of the ventarron and substantiated by oral evidence, on 
their own knowledge, what has passed into vague tradition. 

The reader has of course heard of Tehachepi, -'The Windy 
Pass." The immortal Daniel Boone, vagabondizing on the then 
verge of American civilization, won a name immortal by becom- 
ing the first white man of Kentucky. To be the first white 
man of Kentucky at the present time would be -a consummation 
devoutly to be wished, because Kentucky is the land of giants, 
and to be first among giants is, to say the least, a very big 
thing, but to have been the first man when old Daniel Boone 
was there was no great shakes, because Boone was by himself 
and alone, and skulking from the Indians, and didn't so much 
as have a '"'nigger to boss," and came within just one man of 
being nobody. So this writer could never see why that old 
squatter should have been so lauded for being the first white 
man of Kentucky, when at the time there was no second white 
man. In 1854 this adventurous Hanger became the first white 
man of Tehachepi, and like the immortal Boone, was the only 
one. It is a great thing, however, to be the first white man of 
any country, and this Eanger maintained all of that regal dig- 
nity until the advent into that now classic spot, of Jack King, 
when the author yielded his claim in favor of Jack, and then 
he became the first white man of Tehachepi. When the writer 
was the first white man of Tehachepi there was none other 
nearer than San Fernando, more than a hundred miles, so he 
experienced little difficulty in maintaining his position, espe- 
cially as contrary to the case of Boone the three Indian families 
who" inhabited the valley were extremely friendly. After giving 
a brief description of that classic locality the antiquarian. 
Ranger will inform the world of what he learned concerning 
the buried city of Mojave while occupying the honorable posi- 
tion of being the first white man, and as a preface to wh?.t he 
intends to relate he will state as a fact, based on information 
and general acceptation that, since the coming of the gringo 



340 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

the buried city of the Mojave could be traced on the desert by 
its outcropping walls, and if sought for could without doubt be 
yet definitely located. Is this not a field promising a harvest 
of results to any of our antiquarian angels ? Have we not a 
Pompeii or Herculaneum at our very back door ? 

Tehachepi, at the time this truthful historian enjoyed the 
proud distinction of being the "first man," was the most beau- 
tiful and romantic place that is possible to conceive of a region 
so elevated and so windy. The valley proper, or pass, is a wide 
open plain, and the grass, only trodden and cropped by the 
innumerable herds of antelope and deer that inhabited the 
region, was most abundant, beautiful and contiguous and 
smaller valleys, romantic canons, forests of pine, groves of ever- 
green and spreading oaks, purling brooks, gushing springs, 
green meadows, verdant slopes and craggy hights, went to 
make a picture of arcadian beauty that would have raised the 
enthusiasm of a landscape painter to the seventh heaven of 
bliss. Tehachepi has since been, and is yet, the paradise of the 
'Stock raiser, and is settled by a hardy set of frontiersmen, who 
promise fair in the future to raise up a race of mountaineers, 
ileet of foot and strong of limb, to stand as a bulwark of liberty 
when the effeminate angels inhabiting this modern elysiimi 
have faltered in its defence, and have retired from the conflict 
to their orange groves, to lead a life of indolent ease. Teha- 
chepi at the present time produces cattle ; in the future it will 
produce men. The rugged surrounding mountains, the purity 
of the water, the extreme healthfulness of the climate, the 
purifying winds, sweeping through caiion and valley, from the 
Tulare valley on the west to the arid Mojave desert on the 
east, its elevation, 3000 feet above the sea level, its magnificent 
springs of mineral water, the climate never hot and never cold, 
but always windy, gives promise that Tehachepi will, in the 
future, grow a race of physical giants. 

The great Southern Pacific Railroad, in surmounting the 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. o41 

Tehachepi, performed one of the most curious engineering 
somersaults known to the science of railroad building, and by 
its great combination of tunnels and loops has given a fame to 
Tehachepi never before enjoyed. During the dark days of the 
civil war the locality gained an evil repute on account of one 
patriotic citizen named Mason, who collected a gang of cut- 
throats, unfurled to the balmy breeze the three-barred banner 
of the lost cause, declared fur the Southern Confederacy, and 
robbed and murdered all who failed to pay him tribute. The 
gang became the terror of the country, ruined the reputation of 
the windy pass, and where the mad career of the gay guerrillas 
would have ended had not a woman stepped in and caused the 
death of the chief, is left to conjecture. That is to say, the 
chief becoming enamored of the charms of the wife of one of 
his band, was smiled on by the fair and fickle one, which caused 
the reverse of a smile in the outraged husband, who ended the 
amorous dalliance of the two guilty lovers by putting an end 
to the redoubtable Robin Hood of the windy pass. On the 
death of the leader the band disbanded, and has passed into 
the history of Tehachepi. 

The sturdy old oaks that stand exposed to the driving winds 
of the windy pass have about the same rake as the masts of an 
old-fashioned Yankee slave-brig ; that is to say, they all stand 
on an angle with the horizontal. To be still more plainly 
understood, I mean to say that all the trees at Tehachepi 
have a strong leaning toward the east ; and still more wonder- 
ful, the west side of the trees are devoid of bark, and are as 
polished as were the masts of the slave-brig aforesaid, all of 
which is caused by the continuous and cutting character of the 
winds howling through the windy pass. Once speaking of the 
latter peculiarity to an enthusiastic citizen of the windy locality, 
he said that was a mistake ; "the wind had not blown the bark 
off the trees." " What'else could have caused such curious phe- 
nomenon?" queried the writer. "Why," said he, "you know 



342 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

when the valley was fi^st settled we all got into a squabble about 
our claims and got to bushwhacking each other in regular old- 
fashioned, backwoods, Indian style, and all of the trees were 
filled full of bullets. This we continued for about two years, 
when we settled our difficulties and quit shooting at each other, 
and then one fellow here, who had been an old lead miner, con- 
cluded that he could make wages at mining the bullets and 
buckshot out of the trees, the bullets and buckshot, you know, 
that had lodged in the trees during our two years scrimmage, 
so in the first place he had to peel off the bark to enable him 
to find the bullets, and that is the reason the west side of the 
trees are so bare of bark." "The devil and Tom Walker," 
said 1, "that story won't go down. How was it that the 
bullets and buckshot only lodged in the west side and none 
other?" "Oh!" said he, "I forgot to explain that; you see, 
just as soon as the gun was fired, no difference which way she 
was pointed, the wind would just catch up the bullet or buck- 
shot and away they .would go whizzing with the wind, and if 
they struck a tree it had to be on the west side, because you 
know, the wind at Tehachepi always blows from the west." 
"Well," queried the inquisitive author, "you must have made 
bloody work among each other in your two years' conflict ? " 
"Oh, not very," said he, "sometimes we would catch a fellow 
in a sheltered nook in the mountain and then we would settle 
his hash, but where the wind was blowing you could no more 
hit a man with a bullet, or buckshot, if you aimed at him, than 
you could by throwing a handful of red beans." 

There were three Indian families at Tehachepi when this 
Ranger was enacting the role of Daniel Boone in that unknown 
place, and were quite comfortably situated in a cosy little 
sheltered nook on the north side of the pass, overlooking the 
great Mojave desert. Occupying a hut all to himself, was a 
very old Indian, who received the most kind and unremitting 
attention from the three families, all of whom seemed to vie with 



KEMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 343 

each other in their kindness to the old man. For the informa- 
tion of the reader, I will here state that these Indians were of 
the Tejon tribe, inhabiting the beautiful region in and around 
the head of the Tulare valley, fishing in Lakes Kern and Buena 
Vista in summer time, and hunting in the Tejon Mountains 
and region in and around the Tehachepi Pass in Avinter. The 
most of them spoke the Spanish language. By small donations 
from my small stock of provisions, and the distribution of 
powder, ball and caps- with which I was well supplied, among 
the three hunters of the little rancheria I soon gained their 
confidence. When the sun was warm the old man, who was 
unable to walk, used to be brought out and sat down on a pile 
of deer skins, carefully arranged in a warm sunny exposure 
protected from the wind, where he would sit and smoke till 
eventide, when he would be carefully carried in. He was the 
oldest-looking human I ever beheld. Old Dona Ulalia, who 
recently died at an age ranging anywhere from a hundred and 
thirty to a hundred and fifty, was a modern compared with this 
antique relic of past ages. The first time the old ma'n was out 
after my arrival at the camp and I gazed upon his wrinkled form, 
I felt as if standing in the very presence of a living mummy. 
He looked like an embalmed Egyptian who had lain three 
thousand years in the catacombs. I inquired of the hunters if 
he could talk, " Oh, yes ; very well, if you can understand 
him." "Oh, then," said I, "he don't speak Spanish?" " Muy 
bien" said the hunter, " but his voice is very curious, and 
unless you are familiar with it, the same as the wind." "Has 
he any senses left ?" inquired the Hanger. " Es muy sabio 'y 
muy vivo" (he is very wise and lively,) said the Indian hunter, 
" if you can only understand him." " Is he your grandfather, 
or is he your great grand-father?" I inquired. "He is not of 
our race," said the hunter. "Who, and what is he, then?" I 
again inquired, beginning to feel an interest in this sublime and 
bent monument of antiquity. The hunter, who was an intelli- 



344 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

gent fellow, went on in his pretty good Spanish to inform me 
that the old man, who claimed never to have been married, and 
to have no living kin in the wide earth, was, according to his 
statement and the belief of the Indians, to be the last of a race 
of civilized Indians who once inhabited and cultivated the 
beautiful Mojave, until that valley of perpetual bloom was 
submerged by the ventarron. 

I then bethought me, if the old man can only talk and I can 
only learn to understand him, what a world of information can 
be derived as to the prehistoric people, if any, that had in- 
habited the desert of the Mojave. So I at once put myself in 
a way to open communication with the ancient relic of a bygone 
race. First I gave him a white clay pipe, well filled' with 
tobacco, and found that he smoked like a Turk, and that he 
was greatly delighted with the gift. I soon gained on the old 
man's confidence, but it was a difficult matter to understand his 
speech, if such sound as the rushing of the wind through dry 
rushes could be so designated, but in the course of time I was 
enabled to glean from the old relic, by what I could myself 
understand, and with the assistance of the intelligent Indian 
hunter, the following concerning the ventarron and the destruc- 
tion of the great city of Mojave. To use the old man's 
language would be impossible, and the author will use his own 
to convey to the reader the substance of what he was more than 
a fortnight in learning, all of which was to the following effect : 
" The great plain spread out before us as we look at the rising 
sun was, when my grandfather was in the prime of life, and 
when my father was yet an infant, a valley of perpetual bloom, 
inhabited by a dense population of highly civilized people, who 
lived by agriculture and manufactures. At the furthest stretch 
of the eye from where we now sit, the capital city of Mojave 
stood in all its majestic beauty, with its walls of solid stone 
and its massive buildings, its towers and turrets. My grand- 
father and father, long, long since gathered to the spirit land, 



REMINISCENCES OF A HANGER. 345 

and one or two families who belonged to the watch tower 
that then guarded this same pass, were the only surviving 
inhabitants of the lost people, and all of them have years and 
years ago died and left me alone. I am all that is left of that 
once proud and powerful nation ; what I learned of the great 
ventarron was from my grandfather, who died when I was yet 
a young man. The ventarron (whirlwind) did not strike this 
place. Although the three days' wind from the north blew 
with destructive violence, the strong watch tower that guarded 
this pass against the barbarous hordes of the north withstood 
its fury, and the twin mounds that yet stand here as sentinels 
are the remains of the great northern watch towers of the 
Mojaves, occupied by my grandfather and his friends when the 
ventarron swept over the valley of perpetual bloom, and left in 
its place the withering sight thac for so, long a time has blasted 
the eyes of all who have gazed upon its glaring surface. As I 
said before, all beyond us to the setting sun was then "barbar- 
ism, and my grandfather who was here said (and I remember 
myself his oft-repeated description of the dire catastrophe) to 
this effect : 

For three days the wind blew with terrific violence from 
the west. For three days the wind blew from the north with a 
fury that shook the foundation of these mountains that now 
surround us. Then for three more days it blew from the east, 
and three days from the south. The whole world seemed to be 
falling to pieces, and the mountains rattled in their sockets like 
teeth in an ancient skull. Then the four winds roared together 
in a grand conflict. The whirlwind lifted up the rocks and 
ground them to dust. Great cliffs 'were torn to pieces and driven 
in gyrating circles until reduced to powder, and filled the air with 
dust until the sun was obscured, and darkness fell upon the face 
of the earth. The world seemed going back into chaos. Then 
the thunders of Heaven joined in the appalling commotion, and 
the universe seemed to be in the last throes of dissolution, and 



346 REMINISQENCES OF A RANGER. 

that general annihilation was at hand. As a last final effort of 
enraged nature, the flood-gates of heaven were opened and rain 
fell like the pouring out of an ocean, the flying dust returned 
in mud and settled upon the earth. The darkness passed away 
and revealed a sight too dismal for contemplation. The valley 
of perpetual bloom lay before us like a blackened and hideous 
corpse. The walls and towers of the great city of Mojave 
reared their desolation above the ruin in silent mourning over 
the buried multitude, and the ventarron had performed its 
mission of fell destruction. 

When the renowned and pious father of all the missions in 
California, Padre Junipero Serra was at San Gabriel he was so 
impressed with the belief that a great city existed somewhere 
on the east of the Sierra Nevada, that after a vast amount of 
persuasion he induced some of his Indian converts to accompany 
him in search of it. In using the word persuasion, I would 
here remark that the mission Indians always had a superstitious 
awe regarding that mysterious region. Tradition has it that the 
good father with his neophyte guard came in sight of a large and 
magnificent city on the Mojave desert, that he journeyed toward 
it but got no nearer, and being seized with the superstitious 
fear of his Indian companions hurriedly retraced his steps 
to San Gabriel, declaring that the city he saw was a machina- 
tion of the devil to lure him from his missionary labors among 
the heathen. Now as to whether the good father was deceived 
by a mirage, or that he did actually behold a real city, and was 
deceived by false appearances as to distance, we are not 
permitted to imagine, but it is a well known fact that in 
the great purity and clearness of the desert atmosphere the 
distance of twenty miles seems less than one. The tradition 
excited the poetical genius of Kercheval, and with the following 
from him we drop the curtain on the dark mystery that broods 
over the lost people of the valley of perpetual bloom. 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 347 



THE PHANTOM CITY. 

Where the desert's face lies glaring, 
Like a corpse forever staring, 
And the zephyr's moan despairing, 

Wand'ring o'er the deathly waste, 
Came a Padre meek and lowly. 
Hasting onward, blindly, slowly, 
Seeking with his emblem holy, 

Dying souls with zealous haste. 

Far away with quivering shimmer, 
Sank the mountains dim and dimmer, 
Shone the sunset's dying glimmer,. 

With a faint, expiring glance; 
Came no earthquake's voice to mutter, 
Not a trembling zephyr's flutter, 
Slept a silence deep and utter, 

O'er the lonely, dread expanse. 

On, o'er ghastly wastes and dreary, 
Thro' the night's long watches weary. 
Journeyed stout old Padre Serra 

Till the ghostly shadows fled, 
And the moon came silent wending, — 
Still before him vague extending, 
Stretched the level waste unending, 

Lifeless, soundless, boundless spread. 

'Neath the dim horizon's circle, 
Where the shadows crouch and darkle, 
What is that the sun's bright sparkle 

Gilds as with a flash of tire? 
Lo! a city vast and hoary, 
Dazzling as some fairy stor}', 
Clothed as with celestial glory, 

Dome and battlement and spire. 

Like the swelling tides of ocean, 
Thrilled the Padre with emotion, 
In his soul a grand commotion, 

Thankfulness and glad surprise 
Stirred his holy spirit greatly, 
Waving palm trees tall and stately, 
Towering in their pride sedately, 

Rose beneath the desert skies. 



348 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

Was it but a mocking seeming? 
Was the holy Padre dreaming? 
Rose a city tall and gleaming, 

Queenly 'mid the desert lands; 
Temples proud and princely places, 
Terraced heights and fount-kissed spaces, 
Like some hidden, blest oasis 

'Mid Sahara's burning sands. 

Then of dangers nought regretting, 
Heedless of the toil and sweating, 
All the thirst and heat forgetting, 

Spake the Padre stout and brave : 
" Though the way hath worn and spent me r 
Surely Heaven its aid hath lent me, 
Surely Christ himself hath sent me 
Forth these heathen hosts to save!" 

Gleamed the city clear and clearer,. 
Seemed it near, yet never nearer, 
Almost might the list'ning hearer 

Seeming catch its busy din; 
But there smote no clang of sabre r 
Rose no song of flute er tabor, 
And no pulsing tides of labor 

Drifted out or entered in. 

Yet in vain his weary toiling, 
'Neath that glowing furnace broiling. 
Ever some curs'd spell seemed foiling 

All his efforts in the chase; 
Shrank the phantom ever fleeting, 
Ever from his grasp retreating, 
Where the dim horizon meeting 

Kissed the desert's deathly face. 

Still the holy father wandered 
Ever on and ever pondered — 
"Here the heathen hosts have squandered 

All the world's bright golden store; 
In this vast and lonely centre, 
With the cross, their faithful mentor, 
I will be the first to enter 

At their desert-guarded door." 

" If my weak endurance fail not, 
Satan's wiles shall him avail not; 
Here the holy cross shall trail not 
Longer in the sighing dust 



BEMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 349 

Here with zealous, braye endeavor, 
Error's bead His sword sball sever, 
And His Kingdom reign forever, 
Conquering over sin and lust." 

Still more gorgeous glowed the splendor 
Trom each column, tall and slender, 
Slept a glory soft and tender, 

With its far o'erarching light 
From each temple skyward springing 
Countless rays of glory flinging, 
Dazzling, flashing, trembling, clinging 

Round each spire's far-piercing height. 

Fiercer gleamed that furnace glowing 
Like the lava-tide o'erflowiug, 
Ever hot and hotter growing, 

Withering as some demon's spites; 
Deadly as the path of error, 
Though no mute lips made demurrer, 
Fell a vague, despairing terror 

On his trembling Neophytes. 

Long with fruitless, vain endeavor. 
Followed be the phantom ever, 
On and onward, nearing never. 

Till at eve, ere fell the night', 
Like some fairy's bright creation, 
Like some dazzling exhalation, 
Dome and turret and foundation 

Melted from bis longing sight. 

Then said Padre Serra grieving, 
"This is some curs'd spell deceiving. — 
But a chaim of Satan's weaving, 

Luring souls to death," he said, 
•"With some cunning incantation, 
From the pastures of salvation, 
To this deadly desolation," — 

Then he crossed himself and fled. 

Still the traveller, worn and weary, 
Wand'ring o'er the deserts dreary, 
i?ees that phantom dim and eerie, 

Gleaming, beck'ning far away. 
But it flees his longing vision 
Like a spectre in derision, 
Tades its gorgeous gleam elysian, 

As a dream at break of day. 



350 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 




CHAPTER XXXI. 

Joe Stokes — A First-Class Desperado — Sanguinary Combat — Kills His 
Man at Sacramento and Comes to Los Angeles — An Episode in San 
Francisco — Ned McGowan — The Panama Kiot and Massacre — A 
Heroic Defence— Glorious Death— A. H. Clark— His Farewell to 
Angel Creditors. 

DECEMBER, '54, I first met the subject of this brief 
sketch, and this was the circumstance of our meeting and 
first acquaintance. Having been on a scout in the Cajon 
Pass, and on my return having dined sumptuously at old man 
Thompson's, the pioneer tavern-keeper at El Monte, which was 
just beginning to smile under the benign influence of American 
squatter sovereignty, which said squatter sovereignty produced 
the reverse of a smile on the Workmans, Rowlands and Tem- 
ples who owned lands in the historic " Monte," and had herds 
roaming ad libitum therein and thereabout. Oh, no ! When 
the Rowland or the Workman would miss a cow, a heifer, or 
a bullock, they would never suspect a Monte squatter of being 
a beef eater ! It would not have been safe to have entertained, 
or at most to have expressed, any such suspicion, and further- 
more, because did not the said sovereigns come from the land of 
hog and hominy and corn whisky, and had not been here long 
enough to adapt themselves to the habits and tastes of the 
country ? The Monte promised to be the paradise of the far- 
mer ; the face of the earth would smile whenever touched by 
the hardy pioneer, and crops of corn would grow almost without 
labor. 

So prolific was the soil, that the pioneer bed posts, table legs 
and benches would put forth verdure and take root, reattach 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 351 

themselves to the soil, and again become real estate. Such was 
really the case at El Monte, particularly so at Thompson's Wil- 
low Grove House, and this is the way it so came to pass : 

Willow poles were the great staple of El Monte. They were 
used for houses, fences, pig-pens, corn-cribs 'and all kinds of 
furniture, and as mud floors were the order of the times, a bed- 
post would, when sat on a damp mud floor (and the floors at 
El Monte were always damp), at once take root, and within 
the briefest space of time the occupants of the original rude 
couch would find themselves enveloped in a canopy of sylvan 
green. Such was the kind of real furniture found at Thompson's 
old pioneer Willow Grove House, where this truthful Ranger 
gormandized on roast beef, beefsteak, beef boiled with cabbage, 
and beef soup, after his lonely and arduous ride and short 
rations, as before stated. 

After dinner and a gossip with mother Thompson and her 
two interesting daughters, the Ranger hied himself to the 
Mission Headquarters, and it being Sunday, the bar was being 
over well patronized. Dismounting and sending an Indian in 
quest of barley for my mustang charger, I sat down to take in 
the surroundings of the classic Headquarters. 

There must have been at least three hundred persons in and 
around the place. " Old Jackson," the village pettifogger, stood 
behind the bar dealing out whisky to the American, aguar- 
diente to the Mexican and Indian, angelica to the feminine 
angels therein congregated, and a miscellaneous mixture to 
the squaws who were just beginning to get hettarious. Two 
Monte games were in full blast in the " Saloon," cock-fighting 
and a Mexican circus going it at 2:40 in the rear, and a horse 
race about to come off in front. Roy Bean in all the pomp 
and glory of being the cock of the walk, walked up and down, 
in and around, bucking here and there, and offering to bet on 
his favorite cock, making a "cow" for the horse race, dressed in 
his usual Mexican costume — silver-hilted bowie and pair of 



352 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

navies, showing and assuming all the importance and brief 
authority of lording it over the Headquarters and all that 
reckless throng. A large percentage was Americans, desperate, 
worthless fellows, generally, the summit of whose ambition was 
a horse, a woman for the time, a good revolver, and a "stake" 
to play monte on. 

Soon after the arrival at Headquarters there arrived an 
elegantly-dressed, handsome young fellow of possibly twenty 
years of age, of exceedingly graceful and polite demeanor, of 
smooth, clean, and such exceedingly neat appearance as would 
at once suggest his employment behind the counter of a 
fancy dry good store. 

Dismounting and good naturedly entering headquarters, he 
carelessly leaned against the counter, and while quietly survey- 
ing the scene, he was rudely accosted by a ruffianly-looking 
fellow, who went around with the swaggering intent of having 
a fight or a foot-race. He seemed a sort of free rover, who 
knew no one by name, neither did any one seein to acknowledge 
an intimacy with him. Taking a position directly in front of 
the young man, with a querulous and derisive grin, surveying 
him from head to foot, said : 

" Well; whar in hell did yer come from ? " 

"I," said the young man, "Why, I just came from Los 
Angeles." 

"Ye werent raised thar, war ye?" said Mr. Bully. 

" Oh no," replied the young man; I was not 'reared' in Los 
Angeles. I came from New York." 

" Whar ! whar did ye say ? " staring with evident mistifica- 
tion in the youngster's face^ 

Said the young man; "New York, sir, New York. Of 
course you know where New York is." 

" I know whar New York is ? v I jest don't ; but reckon its 
away up North sumwha whar ye pries the sun up with a 
handspike. Is it not so, sah ? " 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 853 

" The sun never sets on New York, sir," responded the 
young man. 

Then came a banter for a fight, which the young man 
politely declined. Then the bully's demeanor became still 
more overbearing, until he declared himself to be " the Wild 
"Wolf of the Arkansaw," and said : 

"I was the bloodiest man in the Cherokee Nation; I am a 
half-breed Cherokee, I am, and I belonged to the Ridge party, 
and I've killed more Ross men than any dozen of men in the 
party. I killed two Mexicans in New Mexico, on my way out 
here, and I killed a soldier at Fort Yuma, and then dared old 
Heintzelman to take me up. I've been here three weeks, and 
haint killed no one yet, and I'm going to kill you if you just 
open your mouth. I'll give these Mexicans a chance to have a 
funeral." 

" Please, sir, don't let them bury me alive," said the young 
man, ironically. 

" Stranger, do yer know who ye are talkin' to this kinder 
way ? Let me hear from yer. I'm from the Cherokee Nation, 
and I shoot, cut and kill, I do." 

At this stage of proceedings Roy came on the scene, and 
informed the citizen from the Cherokee Nation that he must 
desist from molesting the boy, and that being in his house he 
would protect him. 

The boy thanked Roy politely, and said : " The gentleman is 
not dangerous, in my opinion, and won't hurt me." Now the 
volcano burst forth. ''Get out of the way, I'm going to 
shoot," said " the bloodiest man." 

A general rush was made for the four doors, as was always 
the case when a fight was imminent. The boy stood quiet 
and smiling until the bloodiest man laid his hand on his 
revolver, when, in the twinkling of an eye, the boy had the 
muzzle of a small revolver within a foot of the pit of the 

desperado's stomach, when, with a voice as polite and gentle as 
23 



354 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGEK. 

if soliciting the hand of a fair lady in a quadrille, said : "My 
dear sir, hold up your hands or I'll kill you dead." 

With his eye steadily resting on the eye of the bully, who, 
feeling that he had found his master, had mistook his man, 
mechanically obeyed. 

"Now," said the boy, "unbuckle your belt and let that six- 
shooter fall," which without demur was done. 

"Now take your position at the corner of the room," point- 
ing to the place indicated. The cowed bully obeyed, and the 
boy picked up the revolver, then called for a cigar, and quietly 
lighted it. 

The crowd now recovered from the panic, looked on the 
strange proceeding in mute wonder. 

"You stay there till I call for you or I'll kill you," said the 
boy, puffing vigorously at his cigar, and all the time keeping 
his eye on his disarmed foe. 

When tfce boy got his cigar well started, he walked quietly 
up to the bully with his little revolver presented, and said : 
"Sir, hold your hands behind your back. I'm going to stick 
the fiery end of this cigar in your nose, and you must let it 
remain there until it goes out, and if you flinch, sniffle or 
or attempt to take it out " I'll make a funeral for these 
Mexicans." 

He then proceeded to put his threat into execution by thrust- 
ing the fiery end of the cigar in the ruffian's nose, and then 
stepping back to the counter, said: "Gentlemen, resume your 
games, there will be no farther trouble," still keeping a dead 
aim on the bully, who stood the burning like a martyr for a 
full minute, when the strange youth, handing the bully's pistol 
to Roy, said: "When I'm gone give him his revolver, unless 
he would like to step outside and exchange shots with me like a 
man. My name is Joe Stokes, and I can whip any man in 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 355 

California who don't like me, and I like to lay for such soft 
snaps as the ' Wild Wolf of the Arkansas/" 

A hoot, a general hurrah in English, and " Viva el mucha- 
cho tan valiente" went up from the Mexicans, and /the 
" bloodiest man " was hooted and pelted from the crowd, and 
"little Joe Stokes" was the Napoleon of the " San Gabriel 
Headquarters" until a late hour in the day, when he and myself 
rode into Los Angeles. He was the greatest, bravest and most 
magnanimous of all the desperadoes of early times, and who he 
was, what he did, how he died, and how in dying he dealt 
death and destruction around him, will be next in order. 

Joe Stokes was a brother of the Stokes who killed Jim Fisk. 
so I understand, and belonged to a fighting family. The father 
of the Stokes' was a banker at Philadelphia. Joe was a book- 
keeper in Sacramento in 1852, and was about twenty years old., 
The "Woodcock," the "Humboldt" and the "Empire" were 
the three principal of the many flourishing gambling houses 
that abounded in the " Crescent City." After business hours 
it was the custom of the moral denizens of that fast place to 
become lookers-on at these fashionable places of gilded vice. 
Among other frequenters was poor Joe, who was in the habit of 
once in a while " bucking a slug or two." Joe, however, was 
quiet, well-behaved, and extremely gentlemanly in his manners, 
and almost timid in his retiring modesty, and was, at the time 
of his first appearance in and around the "Humboldt" and 
" Woodcock," the last person in the world that might be sus- 
pected of becoming a debutant in the bloody arena of the 
desperado. Such, nevertheless, was the case. He killed a 
gambler, which was his first appearance on the stage of death. 
Tom Collins was a full-fledged scion of Red River chivalry, 
who could draw a Colt or wield a bowie equal to the lead- 
ing artist of the time. Tom was eminent as a first-class 
fighter, and was master of one of the numerous monte banks in 
full blast at the " Humboldt," and Joe was bucking thereat, 



356 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

and detected Tom in " drawing waxed cards " while dealing, 
and boldly accused him of the dishonorable, and at the time 
regarded by the sporting fraternity, reprehensible act. 

Tom frowned on Joe as a lion might be supposed to frown 
on a rat, and gave him just two minutes to leave the house, 
threatening death in case of refusal, or if he ever caught him 
within its sacred portals. 

Joe quietly dared the gambler to put him out, whereupon 
Tom sprang from his seat, out with his revolver and blazed 
away at Joe who quietly folded his arms and informed the 
cowardly ruffian of his being unarmed and if "you are cowardly 
enough to shoot an unarmed man then blaze away. I don't 
belong to the breed that runs." 

The brave Tom fired two more shots, Joe standing at ten 
feet distanca and defiantly looking the would-be murderer in 
the eye. The first shot cut Joe's hair, the second passed 
between his arm and his body, and the third hit him in the 
muscle of the arm, inflicting a severe and dangerous flesh 
wound. At this stage of the game a bystander ran up and 
gave Joe a loaded revolver, and the brave Collins ran behind a 
column supporting the ceiling above and fired the fourth shot, 
missing Joe, who in the meantime deliberately aimed and fired 
at the only exposed part of Tom's body, hitting him in the 
neck and killing him instantly. From thenceforward Joe 
Stokes became a terror. He seemed to delight in broils and 
was only happy when mixed up in a first class fight, always 
refused to take an unfair advantage, and was never known 
to come out second best. He absolutely seemed to delight 
in danger, was never quarrelsome, always in good humor, 
cool, quiet and calculating, he was " without doubt the most 
dangerous man in California," and so said good old Recorder 
Baker, of San Francisco, in 1855, while imposing a fine on 
Joe for some small affray. To bring out a salient point in 
Joe's character, I must take up the " ubiquitous " and vene- 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 357 

rable Ned McGowan who, by the bye, has been reminiscencing 
San Francisco, and this truthful and impartial author feels 
constrained to reminiscence Ned, which he will now commence 
to do in finishing up our present hero. 

Ned McGowan; what memories historical, political, warlike, 
tragic, dramatic, melodramatic, farcical, comic and amorous, 
cluster around thy name Oh, Ned ! sublime relic of American 
chivalry never to be known again, for thou art the last 
of thy kind. When thy gray locks go down to an honored 
grave, thy deeds of unselfish and noble generosity will survive 
thee, if not on the page of history, then surely in the memory 
of all who in the glorious times of the argonaut and the- 
pioneer knew thee 

" So gillant in love and so dauntless in war." 

In morals and chivalry Ned was emphatically an exaggerated 
edition of Aaron Burr. In 1855, what Jack Powers was to 
Santa Barbara, Judge Edward McGowan was to San Fran- 
cisco. - In '56, when Ned shook the sands of the Bay City 
from his feet, and hied him in the direction of the " City of 
Vineyards," the halo of glory that surrounded San Francisco 
the peerless, departed with him, and the blighted metropolis 
never recovered from the blow of Ned's involuntary emigra- 
tion. The price of drinks went down from four to two bits 
in less than a week. Oh ! it was a sad falling off, indeed it 
was. Alas ! Alas ! 

In '52 the author first met the gallant McGowan whose 
magnificent Magyar-like moustache was at that time whitened 
by the frosts of nearly fifty, northern winters. 

In the zenith of his California prosperity McGowan had 
formed a convenient connexion with a blonde beauty of La 
Belle France, on whom the amorous Judge lavished all the 
wealth of his ardent affections and showered his golden tribute 
without stint. Whatever there was of luxury in the volup- 



&>8 ' REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

tuous city in the way of high living, expensive suppers, fine 
turnouts, wardrobe, jewelry and fine cottage on Pike street. 
the generous McGowan procured for this fair and frail daughter 
of fickle France. Now it so happened that the Democratic- 
horizon in California in '55 was obscured by the Know-Nothing 
eclipse, and whatever of misfortune befel the California De- 
mocracy was most keenly felt by McGowan. because McGowan 
was the Democracy of California and the Democracy of Cali- 
fornia was Edward McGowan. Now, therefore, be it under- 
stood, that the frail sisterhood on the Pacific slope are and ever 
have been the best barometers of flush times, and hard times 
as well, and Mademoiselle was no exception to the generality 
of her kind, but if anything more acute, and felt the premoni- 
tory tremor of coming misfortune to her over-generous pro- 
tector. The Judge owned the fee simple to the cottage on 
Pike, worth maybe $15,000. To obtain a transfer of the title 
papers to herself this adventurous daughter of Gaul lavished 
her persuasive powers on her flexible lover, and with perfect 
success. She argued with the Judge that in his declining years 
he would have a home wherein to betake himself in case of a 
lame leg or a rainy day, a hook whereon to hang — a prop of 
support. The deed was duly signed, sealed, delivered and 
recorded — and lo ! a change came o'er the spirit of his dream. 
The venomous vixen told the Judge that she had no further 
use for him and that he would her a "favor personal do" to 
vamose her ranch, to vacate her premises, — in vulgar parlance, 
to get out, and when the indignant Judge attempted to remon- 
strate a stalwart son of Gaul put in an appearance and offered 
a physical argument to that so sweetly urged by his mistress. 
So the Judge stood not on the order of his going, but went at 
once. This happened in December, '55, and at that time this 
truthful historian with the celebrated A. H. Clark (who has 
been heretofore mentioned as one of the Ecuadorian Filibusters) 
as a room-mate, lived under the same roof with the victim of 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 359 

this infernal French duplicity. Our lodging house was on 
Dupont. near Sacramento, and only a block and a half from 
the cottage on Pike, and kept by Madame Teresa Show. One 
Sunday afternoon at about four o'clock, while several of us, 
Ned being one, were quietly enjoying ourselves in the Madame's 
front parlor we were startled by a terrific explosion, and hur- 
riedly emerging from the house betook ourselves in the direc- 
tion thereof, which proved to have occurred at the third house 
from Sacramento on Pike, in fact was at the late love-nest of 
the venerable McGowan and the fair French blonde. By the 
time we were on the ground several had assembled, among 
whom we found Joe Stokes, apparently the most unconcerned 
of all. The alarm of fire having been sounded, the Monu- 
mental Fire Company were at hand, but there was no call for 
their service. On enquiring within it was ascertained that 
some one had deposited an immense petard under the window 
on the cottage porch and fired the fuse thereof, that the French 
stalwart aforesaid, Mademoiselle's man of all work, had acci- 
dentally opened the door, and observing the sizzing peculiarity, 
picked it up and pitched it toward the street, but it exploded 
almost on the instant of leaving his hand, knocking him into 
the next midsummer and so disfigured the front of that Belle 
cottage that the Judge himself would not have recognized it. 
The affair produced a sensation. McGowan was arrested, but 
easily proved an alibi, he being of the party in Madame Show's 
parlor when the petard went off. Who the perpetrator was 
was enveloped in mystery, and light never shone thereon, but 
the truth is that in the month of March following, on my way 
to Nicaragua, Joe Stokes being of my company, he informed me 
that he was the very person that attempted to blow Ned's 
former frail one into smithereens. He said : 

"I once had a fight in the El Dorado, and killed a French- 
man, and but for .Judge McGowan it would have gone hard 
with me. The Judge placed me under such obligations then 



360 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

that I was bound to return the compliment on the first oppor- 
tunity ; but," said he, "you ought to have seen that Johnny 
Crapaud when my petard exploded. I didn't think there 
was a piece left of him as big as a chew of tobacco. I guess it 
killed him." 

In Nicaragua, with Stokes and some forty others, I boarded 
the steamer Cortez, intending to seize her for the Nicaraguan 
Government. The Cortez was commanded by Captain Napo- 
leon Collins, U. S. N., who in place of permitting us to seize his 
craft, captured and carried us to Panama, where we happened 
to be at the great riot and massacre of April 6th, 1856, in 
which Stokes was killed. This affair being the most bloody 
and terrible of all of the circumstances of travel to and from 
California, I take the liberty of this digression to relate it. 

THE GREAT PANAMA RIOT AND MASSACRE. 

The situation of affairs in Panama at the commencement 
of the great riot was this : The passengers from three steam- 
ers — the Golden Gate, from San Francisco, with about nine 
hundred, the New York steamer with about the same num- 
ber, the steamer from New Orleans with, say, five hundred, 
and some four hundred of the Cortez passengers, as also the 
passengers by the British steamers from the South American 
coast, on their way East and to England, aggregating in the 
whole not less than three thousand souls, all assembled at the 
railroad depot, making' the change, the Pacific side passengers 
taking the train just vacated by the Eastern side passengers, 
who were to go on board the Golden Gate. 

The cause of the riot was that a drunken, turbulent Irishman, 
who had given considerable trouble in the steerage of the 
New York steamer, got into an altercation with a native fruit 
vender about a watermelon, the one insisting on taking the 
melon without pay, and the other demanding an equivalent 
for his merchandise. A fight ensued, and some passengers, 



REMINISCENCES OF A* RANGER. 361 

ignorant of the cause, ran to the assistance of their fellow 
when other natives interfered in behalf of their countryman, 
and a general fight took place, which in a few moments assumed 
the proportions of a raging, turbulent, uncontrollable, furious 
and dreadful riot. It was near sunset when the firing com- 
menced, and at the same time all the bells of the Barrio de 
Santa Ana, a vile suburb, commenced ringing, with a general 
rushing of the vagabond part of the populace toward the depot. 
At the moment referred to, the writer hereof was enjoying a 
post-prandial siesta and cigar in the front parlor of one of the 
hospitable mansions of the city, and stepped on the side- walk 
just in time to see the soldiery go by in full force, with fixed 
bayonets and at a double-quick, in the direction of the scene of 
commotion. At the same time the ladies of the house raised a 
cry of "revolution! revolution!" which was taken up and 
passed from door to door, followed by an instantaneous barri- 
cading of doors and windows, which they all seemed to under- 
stand as if by intuition. I at once ran the distance of a block 
to my hotel — the Aspinwall — ran up stairs and buckled on my 
revolver, and started out to find the only egress from the house, 
an immense door, firmly closed and barricaded. I then went to 
the balcony above and took a piece of carpet out of a room, twist- 
ed one end around a railing, got a lady passenger and guest to 
hold on to one end to keep it from slipping, and I so dropped 
to the street, and hied me in the direction of the great uproar. 
Emerging from the dilapidated city gate in that direction, I was 
called by name, and turning to a crowd of gentlemen in seem- 
ing conference, I at once recognized Ran Runnels, an American 
resident of Panama, a man of great bravery and influence, and 
married to the niece of the Governor. He requested me to 
remain with them, informing me that all the approaches to the 
depot were barricaded, and it would be sure death for me to 
attempt to get there. " But," said he, " the Governor here is 
only awaiting the arrival of his staff to proceed thither and 



3.62 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

•direct the troops in dispersing the rioters, and we will go along 
with them." By the time he had done speaking the officials 
referred to arrived, and the party started. The din by this 
time had assumed the proportions of a full-grown pandemo- 
nium — the screaming of hundreds of women and children, the 
ories of rage and defiance of the more determined of the men, 
the hoots and yells of the natives, the firing of guns and the 
smashing and crashing of doors and windows, the groans of the 
dying and the cries of anguish of men who were heing literally 
cut into pieces — and, to add to the infernal character of the 
place, was the screaming of the locomotive, that was vainly 
endeavoring to escape with the train partly filled with passen- 
gers. At this state of affairs we arrived at a barricade near 
the Ocean House, and a hundred yards from the depot, when 
we were surrounded by an immense crowd of natives, under the 
leadership of a desperate-looking white Spaniard, all flourishing 
their cutlasses, and demanding of the Governor an order for 
arms from the Government arsenal, and threatening him with 
instant death if he did not comply. I stood within arm's 
length of the Governor, and remember his reply as well, word 
for word, as though they were spoken but yesterday. He said 
to the leader, " I know that this mob would murder me ; I 
know that you have long wished for an opportunity to do so ; 
but now hear me, all of you : Sooner than issue an arm for 
any purpose but for the suppression of this infamous disorder, 
I would suffer myself to le torn limb from limb!" The 
Governor was a tall, black-bearded, noble-looking Spaniard, 
and I say this, after a lapse of twenty-nine years, in his justifi- 
cation, and for the reason that at the time, and soon thereafter, 
the press of the United States accused the Governor of partici- 
pating in the riot. Not so. The very contrary was the case. 
The Ran Runnels of this chapter is now United States Consul 
at San Juan del Elar Nicaragua, and has so been for many 
years. 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 363 

About this time, however, I was recognized, and a cry was 
raised : " Kill the big Filibuster ! " when Ran Runnels step- 
ped quietly up and took that great, desperate-looking Spaniard, 
the mob-leader, gently by the collar, and at the same time he 
said to ine, " Don't shoot unless I -kill this devil, and then let 
loose and we will break through the crowd." I was utterly 
astounded at the gentleness and firmness of his voice and man- 
ner. Then to the desperado, still continuing his hold on the 
collar, he said, in an almost whisper: "Keep those dogs off; 
and now, Don Diego, one motion or effort on the part of these 
vagabonds here to strike either my friend or myself, and I will 
send an ounce of lead through the waistband of your pants." 

At the same time I saw that he had the villain completely 
subdued; with one hand so gently bu his collar, he was holding 
in the other a derringer at the pit of Don Diego's stomach. 
"Keep cool, Captain," he would say to me; "and now. Senor, 
you must escort us through this crowd, and, when you do so in 
a satisfactory manner to me, I will release you; but one threat 
or demonstration on their part, and you, Don Diego, are a dead 
man." It was perfectly astonishing to see what an influence 
that one man had over that surging mass of vile humanity. 
At the wave of his hand they would fall back as gently as a 
receding billow on the sandy shores of the ocean, and so he 
safely delivered us on the outskirts of that murderous pack of 
hell-hounds. 

"Now," said Kan, "you have so well complied with my 
little request that I will keep my promise with you — go ! 
Now, Captain, let us get to your hotel. We can do no good 
here, and we may save that place if not too late. Oh, God ! " 
cried he, "is it possible that these helpless passengers are to be 
butchered in this way ? " 

By this time the noise had become positively terrific. No 
tongue or pen could describe it. With all my subsequent 
experience in Nicaragua and on the battlefields of the great 



364 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

civil war, 1 witnessed nothing that could begin to compare with 
it in point of diabolical horror. 

After several narrow escapes from assassination, we arrived 
at the Aspinwall and found everything in confusion. The 
place had been twice attacked, and the assailants were driven 
off by the Filibusters, who had assembled, some twenty in 
number, in obedience to previous orders. It was some eight or 
v nine o'clock when we arrived at the hotel, where we found some 
dozen only, the others having gone to the place of riot in search 
of myself and others of the company known to be mixed up in 
the fight. They, however, returned in the course of an hour, 
having been unable to do more than skirmish on the rear of the 
main body of the mob. 

They, however, did good service with their revolvers, and 
came back to the hotel with a large number of passengers, 
whom they had picked up, and also accompanied by quite a 
number of Jamaica men — so called in Panama — and mostly 
employes of the Railroad and Steamship Companies. We at 
once went to work to organize offensive and defensive opera- 
tions. A party of Filibusters were sent out, accompanied by 
the Jamaica men — the Filibusters to act either offensively or 
defensively, and the Jamaicans to gather up the panic- 
stricken and fugitive passengers. The arrangement worked 
admirably. The Jamaicans, on account of their color and 
knowledge of the Spanish language, were enabled to penetrate 
the mob. when, by speaking English to the passengers, they 
inspired immediate confidence, arid whom they would guide to 
the Filibusters in the rear, who, when a sufficient number had 
been collected, would escort them to the Aspinwall. 

The Jamaica negroes acted nobly, and were the means of 
saving hundreds of lives, frequently refusing large proffers of 
reward from those whom they had saved. And so we kept up 
our sallies and rescues during the night, all of which time the 
infernal uproar continued. At about midnight regular volley 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 365 

firing commenced, and continued until half past three in the 
morning. It was the soldiers firing through the thin sides of 
the railroad baggage-room, where some hundreds of passengers, 
under the direction of Joe Stokes, the " little Filibuster," had 
securely barricaded themselves and could have held out against 
the mob until the crack of doom but for an unfortunate occur- 
rence. The troops under the direction of their leader, while 
endeavoring to disperse the mob with the bayonet, were fired 
on by the barricaded passengers, who supposed them to be of 
the murderous mob. The soldiers returned the fire, became 
unmanageable, and thenceforward acted with the mob. Few 
of the passengers were armed, and those who were were unsup- 
plied with ammunition to reload their pistols when fired off, 
and then the surprise, the panic — no possibility of organized 
defense — the only two efforts at organization, the Aspinwall 
and the baggage room, were effected solely by the Filibusters. 
Stokes defended the entrance to the baggage room, during the 
whole night — passengers loading and passing revolvers to him, 
and had repulsed repeated charges on the door, both by the 
mob and the soldiers, who were now, after midnight acting as 
a mob and without organization. During the fore part of the 
night Stokes and Bob Marks, a watchman at the depot, had got 
an old swivel into the baggage-room, loaded it to the muzzle with 
boiler rivets, placed it in position in the main entrance, and 
kept it for the final emergency, which they knew to be inevitable. 
At half-past three, when the firing had ceased from within, and 
when about every one inside was either killed or disabled, the 
military mob forced the door, and rushed in at a charge bayo- 
net. Then Stokes opened his masked battery. When the mob 
received that full and unexpected blast of boiler rivets directly 
in the face, which killed outright fifteen of the soldiers and 
wounded many more, they fell back on the pursuing mob 
behind, only for a moment, to be thrust forward again. Stokes 
and Marks only waited long enough to witness the effect pro- 



366 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

duced by their terrific farewell. The two heroes, having fired 
their last shot, ran up- stairs into the telegraph-room, and 
Stokes had succeeded in reloading his revolver, and had turned 
to go out, when he was met at the door by a soldier and shot 
through the lungs. Poor Bob Marks "was bayoneted on the 
spot. All the wounded in the baggage-room were brained and 
bayoneted, and, except the general sacking, the Panama horror 
was at an end. Colonel Garrido, a brave and, I believe, a 
humane officer, having tried without avail to arrest the carnage 
in the baggage-room, and hearing the shot up-stairs that killed 
poor Stokes, ran up in time to save him from being bayoneted, 
administered to his relief, and on the day following, with the 
consent of the Governor, ordered a platoon of the military to 
fire a salute over his grave. Colonel Garrido himself, being 
present, said :. "Poor fellow! What would I have given to 
have saved him ? He was the bravest man I ever saw.'' 

Poor Stokes, only a wayward boy. was the hero of that 
night, and when the news of his heroic defence of those passen- 
gers, and his death, reached San Francisco, a movement was at 
once set on foot to erect a monument over his last resting-place, 
but, unfortunately, Ned McGowan took an active part in it, 
and during its progress the great Vigilance Committee rose. 
Ned became an- outlaw, and the matter was forgotten. Alas! 
poor Stokes ! He died the death of a hero and martyr, and 
deserved a monument. 

Many in San Francisco and Los Angeles certainly remember 
Stokes ; if so, let them shed a tear to his memory. 

The result of this great enormity was the murder of two or 
three hundred defenceless passengers of both sexes ; the exact 
number was never known. The American Consul held inquests 
over the bodies of sixty-three. He also took an account of 
$450,000 in gold, stolen by the mob, and the matter has since 
been a subject of diplomacy between our Government and that 
of New Granada, now Columbia, and may so continue to be for 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 367 

a length of time far greater than the lives of the most favored 
of those who were either engaged in or witnessed it. 

Having brought out the name of Clark in this chapter, and 
having heretofore spoken of him, I may be pardoned in making 
this chapter a little longer by paying a slight tribute to his. 
memory. He was the first civil appointee of the Government 
who came to Los Angeles — he coming in '52 to look after 
Uncle Sam's Customs here and hereabout. He was a political 
protege of Senator Gwinn, a noble fellow, a polished gentleman^ 
and possibly the most classical scholar of the age. But he had 
no capacity for looking out for himself; be couldn't make 
money, was always in debt. In '55 he came within two votes 
of being elected Judge of Los Angeles county, and in October 
of which year he left here and went to San Francisco, remain- 
ing a few days in San Pedro, whence he sent back the following 
manifesto to his creditors : 

" Beard the lion in his den — the Douglas in his hall." 

'< BELOVED CREDITORS — The celebrated English orator, 
Charles Fox, fled from the multiplicity of his debts, and 
sought to resuscitate the drooping energies of exhausted 
nature, amid the glorious productions of that famous city 
where the gifted Powers first drew from the rude marble, a 
thing of matchless beauty. 

"At a later day an humbler but no less impulsive speck on 
the surface of animated existence, retired from the indignation 
of confiding money gatherers, and on the margin of that beauti- 
ful valley which stretches in ' airy undulations ' from the waves 
of the Pacific to the base of the Sierra Nevada, forgot the 
magnitude of his liabilities in the pursuit of 'calm contempla- 
tion, and poetic ease.' 

"After an absence of several weeks Fox wrote back to 
London that the fevers of Florence had wrought such a 
damnable change in his appearance that his oldest creditors 
would not know him. A week has only passed since my depart- 
ure from Los Angeles, and the sea breezes of San Pedro have 
already so tempered the ardors of youth that the most gen- 
erous sympathizer in my fortunes would scarcely recognize the 
man who developed in others so many weaknesses of the human 
heart. 



368 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

" Fox returned to the English metropolis, and liquidated-his 
indebtedness by the power of his genius and his eloquence. I 
might pursue the same course, gentlemen, and with like suc- 
cess, if such benefactions of nature were properly appreciated 
in this age of dollars and cents. But circumstances demand 
from me an adjustment of a far different character, and I trust 
the sentiments which have enabled me to outlive the storms of 
adverse life may afford you matter of personal consolation and 
themes for private contemplation. 

" The most of you, gentlemen, belong to that class of men who 
have immigrated to these pleasant latitudes for no other purpose 
than to satisfy the cravings of cupidity, and then return to 
feather a nest in the place which threw over your first efforts the 
cold shadows of failure. You see nothing in this region that 
appeals to the higher instincts of nature and allures to noble 
action. Who among you that has built up for himself a per- 
manent and generous identity ? Who has struggled for the 
moral and intellectual elevation of the community in which he 
lives ? Can you point to a single ornament or a single bless- 
ing conferred in a manner commensurate with your capabilities ? 
With you gold is the standard of respectability and weigher of 
excellence. You stand in this beautiful country, which God 
has spread out for the theatre of progressive civilization, and 
manifest, by your fierce scramble after wealth, a disposition to 
make the accumulation of money the paramount consideration 
of your existence. You will soon depart for the land where 
the energies of manhood failed to find their oracles of hope and 
of success, and will you leave behind a single tribute of respect 
for the country which elevated you from a poverty that would 
otherwise have clung as the poisoned shirt to the back of Her- 
cules ? 

" Gentlemen, your accustomed shrewdness will find no diffi- 
culty in seeing my justification. I lay it down as an axiom 
'well worthy of general acceptation' that a permanent citizen 
is not restiained by the ordinary rules of morality in his efforts 
to prevent transient speculators from bearing away the circulat- 
ing medium of his country. The contracting of debts in such 
cases is not the commission of an error to be deplored, but the 
introduction of a virtue to be admired. To you the commence- 
ment of my career was as ' glorious as the eve of a battle — its 
termination' sad as the morrow of a victory — and yet it fur- 
nishes many a fruitful and significant lesson. The failure of 
an obscure individual may develop truths as everlasting as any 
that ever resulted from the wildest revolution. 

"In conclusion, gentlemen, remember that Jupiter enshrined 
himself in a shower of gold to corrupt the virtue of the beau- 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 



369 



tiful Diana — that mammon poured into the lap of Spain deep 
streams of wealth to destroy her national modesty — that the 
love of money may cause you to forget the higher objects of 
creation, the ordinary incidents of humanity. 

ALBERTO." 

Poor Albert ! he was too refined for this crude world, and 
died in 1862, dependent on a brother, W. T. Clark, formerly of 
Los Angeles, late of Indianapolis, Indiana; also dead. May 
they both rest in peace is the prayer of one who loved them for 
their many virtues and was blind to their faults. 




370 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 




CHAPTER XXXII. 

The Know Nothings Cany the Day in 1855— Downe}' Again— Aleck 
Bell Again, and How He Won a Fine Position, and How He Man- 
aged His Friends at San Quintin — James King of William. 



HE Know Nothing party had its origin in New York 
in 1853, and swept the land like a whirlwind for a 
time. It reached California in '55, and in the same 
year found its grave in the classic land of Virginia, Governor 
Henry A. Wise being the Wellington of the great Waterloo of 
the party. In California its bugle blast of battle was sounded 
in June, the resonant notes of which swept the southern plains, 
penetrated the canons and gorges of the great Sierras, reached 
the mountain fastnesses of the Trinity and Klamath, and 
ascended the highest habitable peaks of the snowy range. In 
September its fiery battalion marched with unbroken front and 
furious tread, crushing down all opposition, and carried the 
State by storm, exhausted itself, and died in December. When 
the Legislature met, in January, '56, the party was refused the 
rights of honorable sepulture. Such was the remarkable rise, 
career and death of this furious faction. The first misfortune 
that befel the party was in the land of its birth, in the nomina- 
tion of one Daniel Ullman for Governor of the Empire State. 
Ullman was a foreigner, and as the creed of the party was 
political proscription to foreigners, the nomination was a fatal 
mistake. Ullman was an old humbug, who, had he only held 
his peace, would have been elected anyway, so formidable was 
the party in New York ; but he opened his mouth, and sealed 
the doom of the party. The query of the campaign was, 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 371 

"What is he?" meaning Ullman. No one knew. The 
gubernatorial candidate refused to tell, and the answer to the 
question was that " Daniel Ullman is a Hindoo" and the 
party at that New York election was effectually Hindoo'd. 

It may be interesting to some survivor of the great native 
American party to know the final fate of its illustrious New 
York standard-bearer, and this truthful writer of Reminis- 
cences will claim his privilege of digression and take great 
pleasure in winding up Ullman in history as he did in fact, in 
February, 1865, when the "Hindoo"' found his Waterloo on 
one of the bloodless fields of the great civil war. In 1868 the 
"Hindoo" came to New Orleans from Washington wearing the 
stars of a Brigadier, and surrounded by a full-fledged staff 
resplendent in blue,, glitter and gold. The mission of these 
birds of brilliant plumage was to organize an army of negroes 
to fill the bornb-proof positions while the true boys in blue 
went forth to fight face to face with the grim graybacks of the 
Southern Confederacy. It may be a long time before the truth 
of history reveals itself, but when it does it will be found that 
for effective fighting the colored soldiers of the Union were not 
a success, but were certainly equal to the Generals, Colonels 
and subalterns who commanded them. Under General Banks 
the "Hindoo's" career was surpassingly brilliant, — good clothes, 
good pay. the best rations, most comfortable tents pitched on 
positions impregnable, good times and no fighting, no hard 
knocks, or any service greater than standing guard and raiding 
hen-roosts. The career of the " Corps de Afrique" under the 
" Hindoo" was the very perfection of military ease and idleness. 
Notwithstanding all this good cheer and an unlimited supply of 
whisky, the " Hindoo " hungered for the honors of the battle- 
field, and fretted and chafed like a regular Hindoo tiger to be 
let loose on the foes of human liberty. But no ! the flesh and 
blood of these dusky warriors was too sacred to be sacrificed. 
White men were, in the opinion of the authorities, the only 



872 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

proper food for gunpowder, and the '•' Hindoo," with his colored 
cohorts to the number of about 10,000, with some two thou- 
sand white veterans to guard them, was forced to chew the cud 
of military disappointment at the camp of Morganza, twelve 
miles below the mouth of Red River, on the Father of Waters, 
and submit to a life of military inactivity, while the thunder of 
cannon and the rattle of musketry resounded from the Rio 
Grande to the Potomac. 

From Morganza to the Achafalaya river was thirteen miles. 
About fifteen miles beyond, at a place called Big Cane, a 
former citizen of Los Angeles, a Confederate Brigadier, J. L. 
Brent, commanded a small force of Confederate cavalry, to 
watch the camp at Morganza, a Texas fellow named Collins, 
and a gallant Creole, Carmouche by name,, had small scouting 
parties on the Peninsula, formed by the Mississippi, the 
Achafalaya and Red Rivers. 

This was the military situation in February 1865, when a small 
party of civil engineers went up from New Orleans to examine 
the condition of the levees near the mouth of Red River, and 
took with them an order from General Canby (who had relieved 
General Banks) for an escort to and from the place to he 
examined. In compliance with the order the " Hindoo" turned 
out with his entire staff, marshaled 5,000 of his "Corps de 
Afrique," with drum corps and bands ; Colonel Chrysler, with 
his Second New York Cavalry ; Colonel E. J. Davis, with his 
First Texas Cavalry, the Twenty-Fourth Indiana Infantry, 
and Marlin's New York Battery of rifled guns, with ambulan- 
ces, medical corps, ammunition and provision trains, with 
three wagons to carry the stores (principally whisky) for him- 
self and bibulous staff. The war was evidently drawing to a 
close, and the " Hindoo" had not as yet fleshed his maiden 
sword — his "Corps de Afrique" had never been baptized in 
the fire and flame of battle, and here was an opportunity not 
to be lost. 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 373" 

It took about three days to place this array on its marching 
legs. Finally this great force, in numbers greater than Wash- 
ington commanded at Monmouth, marched out of the splendid 
fortifications at Morganza, with flags flying, drums beating 
and bands playing inspiriting airs. It marched forth, first the 
" Corps de Afriqne" with skirmish line extending from river 
bank to swamp, a mile back. Second in order of march was 
Marlin's battery; then came the General and staff, with the 
New York Cavalry regiment as a body guard; next the white 
infantry, and the Texas cavalry as rear guard. 

This was a very deliberately planned campaign, and by the 
time the army had passed over the space of three miles, the 
rattle of musketry commenced on the skirmish line, and the 
"Hindoo" sent an aide-de-camp forward to learn the situation, 
who went off like a rocket, and soon returned, his war horse 
covered with foam, with the announcement of a large force of 
" rebels in front." Now the "Corps de Afrique" is deployed 
in line of battle and the white veterans are held in reserve. 
Marlin's guns are unlimbered and run into battery immediately 
in rear of the black and blue battle line. Skirmishers are 
rallied on the batallions, the bugles sound the advance, the 
bands play the charge, the "Hindoo" and staff ply their canteens. 
The "Corps de Afrique" give three cheers and a tiger, bravely 
advance and open a terrific fire from right to left, from river to 
swamp. The "Hindoo" and his staff dash along the roaring 
battle-line cheering, and urging it on to victory, and to "give 
no quarter." " Remember Fort Pillow." " Give 'em h— 11 ! " 
And now Marlin is ordered forward, the " Hindoo" himself 
guiding the battery into position. " Now, Marlin, turn loose 
my war dogs and make 'em bite," was the " Hindoo's " order. 
Marlin seeing no enemy, inquired, " General, am I to consider 
this as an order ? " and the genera] put a flea in his ear. 

Marlin now opened, and fired thirty rounds from his battery, 
and the "Corps de Afrique" kept up a perfect blaze of 



374 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

battle. The " Hindoo " next planned a combined movement 
of horse, foot and artillery, and in charging over the field to 
direct the movement in person, having become so waterlogged, 
he fell off his horse. Colonel Chrysler, disgusted with the 
infernal tomfoolery (for be it known, patriotic Americans, there 
were not fifty armed enemies within thirty miles of this field of 
the "Hindoo's" fall), came forward, stopped the waste of 
ammunition, ordered a Sergeant with an ambulance and guard 
to take charge of the "Hindoo," which they did in the most 
approved New York style, relieving him of his purse, his 
watch, diamond pin, studs and other valuables ; then placing 
the dead drunk GENERAL in an ambulance, he was carted back 
to Morganza. The "Hindoo" General was deprived of the glory 
of writing a report of this bloodless battle, but nevertheless it 
was reported, and now finds its way into the war history. The 
writer of this warlike episode was at the time serving on the 
staff of General Canby, and happening to visit Morganza on 
the day following this great waste of ammunition, and being 
informed of the facts by Captain Marlin, Colonel Chrysler, and 
other white officers, did himself the pleasure of writing a report 
thereof to the Commanding General, who without any further 
inquiry ordered the " Hindoo " to Washington under arrest. 
The Ordnance Officer estimated the value of the ammunition 
expended in that sham battle, intended to redound to the glory 
of the " Hindoo " General and his " Corps de Afrique," to be 
$30,OOJ. And such was the end of the Know Nothing candi- 
date for Governor of New York. In that memorable Know 
Nothing campaign of '55, Los Angeles stood by the Democratic 
/colors, and elected my gallant Ranger comrade, Don David W. 
(Alexander, Sheriff of the county, and sent John G. Downey as 
representative to the Legislature. This was the ex-Governor's 
first move on the political chess-board. Aleck Bell was the 
luckiest man of the day, and this is the way his good luck 
cropped out : 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 375 

There were two Alexander Bells in Los Angeles, both cap- 
tains, one having served under Taylor in Mexico and the other 
having served under Stockton and Kearney in California. The 
latter was a wealthy, most popular and estimable citizen of Los 
Angeles, and the former was a first-class adventurer and noted 
russler. Colonel Butts, of bear fighting fame, was the Know- 
Nothing delegate from Los Angeles to the State convention 
and suggested Alexander the rich, as a nominee on the State 
ticket for State Prison Director, an office with a $3,500 annual 
salary thereto attached and with perquisites of many more 
thousands thereto belonging. When the State ticket was 
announced Alexander the russler swore he was the man, inter- 
viewed Butts, promised him the prison beef contract if he'd 
keep mum, was the first to take the stand at the ratification 
meeting, accept the nomination and pledge his influence to 
the ticket. He next went to his rich namesake, begged his 
acquiesence, and, notwithstanding several indignation meetings, 
Alexander, the russler, brazened the thing through, claimed his 
election, got his certificate, took his seat as President of the 
Board, swamped the whole directory in less than three months 
by incurring immense debts for reckless prison expenditures 
which brought down the wrath of the Legislature, and the 
Board was abolished. 

When Aleck claimed the nomination his worldly wealth 
would not have sold, including his wardrobe, for $20. When 
legislated out of office he had good clothes, not a dollar in 
money, but had incurred personal debts of about $20,000. 
This was Aleck's misfortune, he was generally flat broke and 
was the best borrower I ever knew. He borrowed from every- 
body and paid nobody. H*J never knew a man in California 
from whom he didn't borrow money in sums ranging from one 
to a thousand dollars. His manner was such that no one could 
refuse him. He was hale fellow well met with all classes of 
people from the highest in position to the veriest vagabond. 



376 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

When Aleck got into this first-class position some of his 
friends in San Francisco advised him to go through the insol- 
vent court, get relieved of his debts and make a new start and 
a provision for his family. This he indignantly refused, main- 
taining that he intended to pay his debts. 

" How much do you think you owe, Aleck ? " queried one of 
his friends. " Do you mean in California ? " said Aleck. 
" Yes, in California," was the answer. " Well," said Aleck, 
" I don't think I owe over $2,000,000." 

Now when Aleck took command at San Quintin, he found 
that among the ragged rascals there confined every fifth man 
was an old friend, each of whom claimed an indebtedness for 
small loans made when times were flush with them. Some had 
known him in Texas, some in the army in Mexico, others had 
followed him to Equador, and had worked for him at Panama. 
He found Los Angeles friends, San Francisco friends, friends 
from Stockton, from Sonora, Mokelumne Hill, Santa Barbara, 
and friends and kinsmen of his Sonorefia wife. 

Aleck was the most open-handed, whole-souled, generous and 
liberal of men, and his heart opened and yearned toward these 
former friends, now in prison rags and half-starved, and he hied 
him to San Francisco, and bought the best of blankets, under- 
wear, boots, hats, black doeskin pants, red shirts and warm 
coats for his family of 500 convicts, two suits each ; had the 
prison renovated from floor to roof, the convicts shaved, shorn, 
scrubbed, and made comfortable, and had the prison larder 
stocked, and the table supplied in such style as would have 
bankrupted a second-rate hotel ; cigars and tobacco were fur- 
nished, and forlorn indeed was the poor convict whose throat 
got cobwebed for the lack of whisky. Alas for the poor devils 
at San Quintin, Aleck so ran the thing in the ground, that in 
less than a month a Committee of the Legislature investigated 
the prison management, and on their report, during the third 
month, as before stated, the directory was wound up. 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 377 

Another misfortune befel him. After his election, in Sep- 
tember, Aleck took up his residence in the Bay City, and as a 
fact he was more widely known than any man in the State, 
and was besieged every day for a position at the prison, when 
he went into office on the 1st of January, and letters came from 
all quarters to the same effect, all of whom Aleck promised, 
and from all of whom he got a small loan to help him along 
till he went in. So when Aleck went over to take charge of 
the prison there was such a gathering of the clans as was never 
known on that side of the bay. Offices were multiplied. 
The guards were doubled, and sinecures created. Still not one 
in five could be provided for, but thev were all invited to hansr 

A / v O 

up their hats, eat, drink, and be merry, until something could 
be done for them, which caused some of the Committee to 
facetiously designate our State Prison as the "Loafers' Asylum." 
This now reminds me of a story. Old R. had a farm at El 
Monte which he sold at a sacrifice, and went to San Francisco 
to get a fat prison contract, Aleck being a great friend of his. 
Now it happened that Albert H. Clark and myself were room- 
ing together at Madame Show's on Dupont street, adjoining St. 
Mary's cathedral, and one cold, wet evening in December I was 
reclining on a sofa and Clark was seated by the coal fire 
smoking. There was no light except that given by the coal 
fire. Old R. came in, took a seat, and after some preliminary 
conversation requested a loan until the Los Angeles steamer 
returned, saying he had sent to his wife for money. 

"Why," said Clark, "R., I was thinking about hunting 
you up for a loan, hearing that you had sold your ranch; you 
certainly didn't come up here without a supply of coin." 

"The fact is," said R., "I got here with about $600, and 
went up to Sacramento with Aleck Bell and Bob Haley to fix 
up those political appointments, and lent them my money and 
they came away and left me, and I don't know how I could 
have got back had I not met a man who knew me and paid my 



378 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

fare down. The truth is, Clark, I haven't eaten a morsel all 
day." 

"What! is that all?" said Clark; "you a politician and 
complain about going without eating for a day! I sometimes go 
a week without eating. I went to Sacramento pome time ago 
and was gone ten days and didn't eat a morsel during my whole 
absence. My friend, starting in as a politician, take my advice 
and train your stomach." 

I could stand this no longer. Old li. was one of the best of 
fellows, and I stopped Clark's cruel joking and we took our 
mutual friend in and shared our comforts with him. 

When Aleck went into office old R. was on hand, but failed 
to get a contract, and concluded to content himself with a 
hundred dollars a month and found, as a guardsman, but 
there were about five hundred ahead of him, and he for a time 
became a pensioner on the establishment until it happened that 
Texas Jack, a most eminent horse thief, who boasted of never 
having stolen less than twenty horses at one time, and some- 
times a thousand, and was withal an old friend of Aleck's — a 
Texas friend. Jack was a convict, in for ten years, and was 
master of the equine establishment at San Quintin, that is to 
say he was chief hostler, and presuming on his old friendship 
with Aleck, and anticipating an easier place, resigned, and old 
R. was appointed to this honorable position, and reaped the 
reward of his political fidelity and with his $100 a month as 
successor to the renowned Jack, pined not after his Monte 
farm, sold for less than half its value, and his $600 invested in 
politics through the medium of Aleck Bell and Bob Haley. 

In the fall of 1855, James King of William founded the 
Bulletin, which fell upon San Francisco like a roaring lion, 
evidently intent on reforming public morals, or wiping out the 
general public, for be it known, modern reader, that, at that 
time San Francisco was not heavy on morals. All of the 
contemporaneous publications took a tilt at the audacious 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 379 

innovator, and they all in detail got their lances shivered in 
the encounter, for was not the virtuous reformer encased in the 
armor of purity, and armed with the sword of morality ? The 
Alta pitched into him, and was sent to grass. The Herald 
was "knocked out of time," and the Daily American (of 
which Aleck Bell was the proprietor during its short life, and 
Edward Pollock was editor, while the author occupied the more 
humble office of local scribe), stripped itself to the " buff," im- 
bibed a goodly supply of " Dutch courage," and entered the 
arena, determined to maul the mug of this champion of the edi- 
torial prize ring. James King of William was a broken banker, 
and the American called him a "ruined Shylock," a "morbid 
money changer," " honest lago," and other such pet names. 
Pollock had too much editorial discretion to write such stuff. 
The closing editorial was written by the distinguished proprie- 
tor himself, under the inspiration of at least one hundred 
"cocktails" and undiluted "straights." It transpired that 
when King was on the Shylock lay-out,. Aleck had deposited 
his I.O.U. behind King's counter for a small pecuniary accom- 
modation, for which he was to pay the usual ten per cent, 
monthly interest. Now it came to pass that the American 
went for the Bulletin's blood in the morning, anticipating that 
King would "counter" in the evening. Not so, however; the 
Bulletin didn't say a single word in reply, but at about ten 
o'clock on the same day one of Sheriff Dave Scannell's deputies 
came around and closed up the pugilistic American, on a writ 
of attachment at the suit of the " Shylock " King, who 
demanded his money and his accumulated pounds of flesh. So 
the great American gun was most effectually spiked. 

Early in '56, the Sunday Times made its appearance in the 
arena of journalistic pugilism. Supervisor James P. Casey was 
its editor, and gave the Bulletin such a stunning blow, square 
from the shoulder, as caused the claret to freely flow. The 
Bulletin replied by asserting the truth to be that the Times 1 



380 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

editor was an ex Sing-Sing convict, which so riled Casey that 
he hied him hurriedly in quest of the great oracle McGowan, 
and is supposed to have communed with him on the subject 
matter of insult, "borrowed Ned's Derringer, so thought at the 
time, and on the same day killed the king of San Francisco 
editors. To understand this matter more fully the reader must 
be informed that no one could be killed in San Francisco with- 
out McGowan's consent, and as Casey killed King, as was 
freely maintained, with Ned's pistol, it was quite easy to infer 
that Ned consented thereto, and the Vigilance Committee hung 
Casey for murder, held McGowan to be an accessory before the 
fact, and he was forced to flee the wrath of the Committee, and 
take refuge in the mountain fastnesses of the southern counties. 

The author of these truthful reminiscenses, has frequently 
called himself the " truthful historian," and does not assert as 
a fact that Casey and McGowan conspired to kill James King 
of William, or that Casey killed King with Ned's pistol, or 
that the ex- Judge had anything to do with or knowledge of the 
intended assassination. The author is unwilling to infer such 
to be the case. But as McGowan was afterward indicted, tried 
and acquitted of the charge we must all agree that he was inno- 
cent thereof. 

Notwithstanding the 9,000 members of the great San Fran- 
cisco Vigilance Committee in their excess of zeal, believed 
McGowan to be guilty, sought for but didn't find him, 
and after having searched half the houses in San Francisco 
from garret to cellar, beat the bush in and around the sand 
hills, it was ascertained that the flying fugitive had reached 
Santa Barbara. A large force followed and would, but for the 
shrewdness and honesty of Jack Powers, have captured him. 
I repeat, honesty of Jack Powers. Jack saved Ned McGowan. 
The great Vigilance Committee offered $20,000 for his arrest 
and Jack Powers could have pocketed that sum by betraying 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 



381 



his guest into their hands. Does not this speak volumes for 
the honesty and manhood of that unfortunate and much 
abused character. 




382 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 




CHAPTER XXXIII. 

Another Revolution— Juan Flores Raises the Standard of Revolt — Captures 
San Juan Capistrano — Levies Forced Loans — Murders a Merchant — 
Massacre of the Sheriff's Party — A Vendetta — General Pico takes the 
Field — T. D. Mott Commands an Expedition to San Buenaventura — 
The Rebellion Squelched — Rebels Hung — Bloody Trophies — Stuttering 
Aleck. 



MAY '55, Myon Norton, then Judge of the Court of 
Sessions of Los Angeles County, sent three of our gentle 
angels into a forced retirement at hard labor and harder 
fare in our State Asylum for thieves and other malefactors. 
The first of this trio was a red-headed gringo named Welch. 
Juan Gonzales, who had the year previous acted the part of 
hangman in the execution of the lamented Dave Brown was 
the second, and Juan Flores was the third, and apparently the 
most insignificant, but, as the sequel will show, the most 
important personage who ever represented our angel popula- 
tion in the halls of State at San Quiritin. All three were 
sent up for the unromantic crime of horse stealing. Juan 
Flores was a dark complexioned fellow of medium height 
slim, lithe and graceful, a most beautiful figure in the fan- 
dango or on horseback, and about twenty-two years old. 
There was nothing peculiar about Juan except his tiger-like 
walk — always seeming to be in the very act of springing upon 
his prey. His eyes, neither black, grey, nor blue, greatly resem- 
bling those of the owl — always moving, watchful and wary, 
and the most cruel and vindictive-looking eyes that were ever 
set in human head. These gentlemen from Los Angeles not 
relishing the boiled sturgeon and other fish dirt with which the 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 383 

lessees of the prison fed their guests, and the brick yard having 
no charms for them, after a few months of service, with a 
hundred or two others made a break for liberty, were recaptured 
and subjected to a prison discipline and surveillance that ren- 
dered any future escape a moral impossibility. However, those 
ever watchful eyes of Juan only waited for half a chance 
to make another effort, and in October '56 an opportunity 
was seized which to Juan proved successful, though many 
of - his comrades were slaughtered, more of them retaken, 
while a few of the more determined escaped. A few days 
only, before the most desperate of all breaks from San 
Quintin was made, a notorious desperado from Shasta was 
lodged within the walls of this celebrated prison whose 
name, if known to the prison officers, was never used to 
designate him, but, calling himself the " Red Horse," was so 
known to his fellows. Jim Webster, however, was his true 
name. A brig was loading with brick at the prison wharf. 
The gangs of convicts who were engaged in the work, on reach- 
ing the brickyard outside the walls early one morning, were 
raised to fury by the startling cry of, " Who dare follow the 
Red Horse ? Onward, boys, for the brig and liberty ! " Then 
was heard in response a terrific yell, the rattling of chains and 
firing of guns, as the crowd of chained demons rushed down 
the wharf and on board the brig. The guard, who were at 
hand, opened fire on them with their rifles and revolvers, and 
several were killed. Juan Flores was the first to follow the 
" Red Horse," and his wild carajo urged his countrymen on to 
death or liberty. The melee was awful. The captain and 
crew of the brig were driven below, and the guards on board 
disarmed and tumbled overboard. Overlooking the wharf was 
a promontory, on which was stationed a battery of one six- 
pounder field-piece and one twelve-pounder howitzer. The 
convicts, on boarding the brig, cast off her moorings, swung 
her to the outgoing tide, when lo ! a shower of cannister was 



384 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

poured into them at a distance less than seventy yards, and the 
riflemen on the wharf shot them down like dogs. 

In spite of all this slaughter the "Red Horse," commanding 
those who spoke English, and Juan, yelling his orders in the 
shrill language of Mexico, succeeded in setting the sails of the 
brig, and the wind being favorable, sailed beyond the reach of 
grape cannister and rifle ball, and those who were not killed, or 
who had not jumped overboard and were drowned, or who 
reached the wharf and surrendered, succeeded in crossing the 
bay to Contra Costa and escaped, Juan Flores and Pancho 
Daniel being of the number. A couple of weeks later Juan 
and Pancho were at San Luis Obispo with a party of fifteen or 
twenty followers and made known their intent to go to Los 
Angeles, raise the standard of revolt and rid the country 
of the hated gringos. At San Luis they met one Andres 
Fontes, who had served out a two years' term in the peniten- 
tiary, and who joined them on condition that they would help 
him to murder Jim Barton, Sheriff of Los Angeles County, 
whom Andres claimed had unjustly accused and sent him to 
the penitentiary. 

This Andres Fontes was a native California boy and 
when sent to the penitentiary was only about eighteen 
years old. When taken from the Los Angeles jail he 
threatened the Sheriff with future assassination. There had 
been a difficulty between Andres and Barton about to this 
effect : Our angel Sheriff was an unmarried man and lived in 
illicit intercourse with an Indian woman, who, for some alleged 
ill treatment, left him and went to a family residing on the 
east side of the river. Barton went for her and on her refusal 
to go with him violently seized and was dragging her away, 
when Andres happened to be riding along the road, interposed 
in favor of the woman, and Barton was constrained to desist. 
One or two days thereafter Andres, at the instance of the 
Sheriff, was arrested on a charge of felony and was convicted 



REMINISCENCES Of 1 A RANGER. 385 

and sent to San Quintin, and hence his desire to murder Sheriff 
Barton, and the cause that induced him to join the embryo 
revolution under Juan Flores. 

In due course of time the parcy, with augmented numbers, 
arrived at Los Angeles, and dispersing around town, had 
a good time of it for a few days, and then, numbering fifty, 
departed for San Juan Capistrano, sixty miles toward San 
Diego. Arriving there, Juan raised the standard of revolt, 
dispatched couriers to notify the rancheros and invite them to 
his standard. Judging the temper of his countrymen by his 
own. he felt sure of a general uprising. Never was there a 
more fatal mistake. The native Californians, it is true, raised, 
not to assist in a hair-brained insurrection, but to put it down, 
and to punish the insurgents. 

The first thing Juan did after dispatching his couriers was to 
raise the sinews of war. He first called on Juan Forster, who 
shelled out. Then he went from one gringo to another, until a 
German was found who refused to pay. He was, in conformity 
with the rules of revolution, taken to the plaza and shot. 
Juan then dispatched a false messenger to inform Sheriff 
Barton of the disturbance, and to mislead him, in order that he 
might be led into a trap and murdered, and thus the compact 
with- Fontes would be made good. On the reception of the 
information falsely given as to the disturbance, Barton called 
for a few volunteers to go with him to San Juan. Cyrus Lyon 
inquired as to the number of men he proposed taking, and on 
being informed that ten would be enough, refused to go. Cy 
Lyon was one of our most efficient Rangers, and was better 
informed as to the magnitude of the danger than any other 
person, and told Barton that if he went with a less number 
than fifty or sixty rnen, it would be at the peril of being cut off 
and slaughtered. Accompanied by only twelve men, Barton 
set out for the scene of disturbance, and arrived at San Joaquin 

Ranch, within eighteen miles of San Juan. Here Don Jose 
25 



386 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

Sepulveda warned him of his danger, and urged him to go no 
farther, but to send back to Los Angeles for more men, and 
await their coming. An old Frenchman, the ranch cook, 
assured Barton that a trap was set for him ; also that a party 
of the robbers, double the number of the Sheriffs party, had 
just been at the ranch. 

With all these admonitions of danger the Sheriff and his 
little party took up their line of march for San Juan. They 
had proceeded but a short distance when a man rode out of the 
tail mustard fired at them and galloped away up the road, 
pursued helter-skelter by the gringos who one at a time ran 
into an ambuscade and were shot down. 

It so happened that Frank Alexander and Calvin Hardy 
were some little distance behind the main body, and as they 
galloped up saw the situation in time , wheeled their horses in 
the road and fled in the direction of Los Angeles, being pursued 
by members of the gang all the way to the Santa Ana River. 
With the exception of those two the party was massacred. 
Barton fired his double-barrelled gun without effect, fell 
from his horse and was riddled with bullets as he lay on the 
ground, still, however, discharging the six shots from his 
revolver without effect. In fact not a man of the insurgent 
band was either killed or wounded. When Barton had fired 
his last shot, Andres Fontes approached, and deliberately 
aiming, shot him through the head, as he aimed, Barton raised 
himself on one elbow, hurled his empty revolver at the assassin, 
and was at the same moment shot dead. Thus ended the mas- 
sacre. Taking the arms, equipments and horses of the mur- 
dered gringos, the murderers returned to San Juan in triumph. 
When the news reached Los Angeles, it produced a most 
profound sensation. Gringos held their breath in the intensity 
of their alarm. Brave men looked at each other in blank 
terror and asked, " Where will this end ? " There was some 
fear as to how the native Californians, the Spaniards, would act 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 387 

in the matter. This was soon settled by General Andres Pico 
and Don Tomas Sanchez calling for volunteers to put down 
the disturbance and punish the assassins. In a day they had a 
large force and were ready to take the field. In the meantime 
the gringos coming in from all parts of the country organized 
into companies, and the Board of Supervisors of the County 
having appointed Jim Thompson to the vacant office of Sheriff, 
he assuming command, the little army took up its line of 
march to the seat of war. On the advance nearing San Juan, 
the insurgents, in good order, and with pack mules carrying 
supplies, retired to the mountains and were not found till the 
afternoon of the day following, when, through the aid of Don 
Jose Sepulveda, they were tracked to an impregnable position 
in the Santiago cafion. 

The insurgents were insolent and defiant. Some firing and 
skirmishing took place without effect, when it was determined 
to surround, settle down and besiege the position, which before 
nightfall was successfully done. Flores now seeing that the 
tables were turned, and that he himself had fallen into a trap, 
resolved to lose no time in escaping therefrom, and at an early 
hour in the night made the attempt, with only partial success, 
himself and his Lieutenant falling into the hands of the 
gringos, and some fifteen or twenty of his men being captured 
by the vigilant Pico. The manner in which Flores and Pancho 
Daniel were captured was, in the darkness they rode over a 
precipice, and rolled and tumbled down, down, down, with a 
great clatter, and finally landed in a gringo camp at the bot- 
tom. The rest of the band escap?d, for the time. The capture 
of the two leaders produced great joy and satisfaction, and the 
company from El Monte claimed the right to guard the prison- 
ers, which they were permitted to do. The captive Captain 
and his Lieutenant were secured by tying their arms behind 
their backs, and disposing of them in the midst of sleeping 
Monte gringos, who, after re-posting their sentries, resigned 



388 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

themselves to slumber. Morning came, and with it an intense 
excitement. The two birds had flown. The Captain, his 
Lieutenant, and two of the best horses belonging to the now 
crestfallen Monte gringos, were missing. When they had 
fallen into camp, as it were, from the skies, the surprise was 
great, but now it was greater, and failing to find an aperture 
in the earth through which they might have continued their 
downward descent, and not finding the two horses missing, as 
aforesaid, the Monte gringos concluded that their two captives 
had in some mysterious manner outwitted them, and vamosed 
the ranch. (It was afterwards ascertained that the two prison- 
ers had worked their backs together, and one had untied the 
other, and they thus escaped.) 

Dispositions were now made for a vindictive pursuit. 
Thomas D. Mott, a handsome, quiet young fellow, who had up 
to this time stood modestly in the background, was in com- 
mand of one of the companies, and was ordered to proceed in 
all haste to San Buenaventura, raise the people, watch 
the roads, and make sure that none escaped in that direc- 
tion. Others were dispatched in the direction of San Diego, 
the Cajon and San Gorgonio passes as well as the San Fer- 
nando Pass. Captain Stanley who had succeeded Captain 
Hope, was in the saddle with his Hangers, and the military at 
Jurupa and Tejon were notified. These dispositions made to 
guard the passes, and to reach them required hard riding and 
fatigue, it being from the locus in quo to San Buenaventura 
full one hundred and twenty miles, to San Fernando seventy-five 
miles, and to other places not so far, and the main body was 
being disposed to scour the mountains and plains. Some 
prying gringo eyes now discovered that notwithstanding Gene- 
ral Pico with his followers were present, the prisoners taken by 
him on the previous night were not visible, and upon inquiry 
Don Andres said he had "confessed" them. Some doubt being 
expressed as to how they might have been disposed of, Don 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 389 

Andres spoke to a weather-beaten, bronzed hero who • galloped 
off up the canon, and soon returned wearing pendant from his 
burly neck, shot-pouch fashion, a most beautiful necklace made 
of human ears strung on a raw-hide string. These trophies 
being conclusive evidence that if the former owners thereof had 
not been "confessed," then certainly they had been otherwise 
piously disposed of. This being satisfactory, operations were 
resumed, and scouring the country commenced. Tom Mott 
rode rapidly to San Buenaventura and arrived just in time to 
fall in with a party of the insurgents, and the first notice given 
the good people of the quiet Mission village was the rattle 
of revolvers as the two hostile parties at early dawn met in 
the street. The robbers fled to a vineyard; some were shot 
down and others captured, and by the time the citizens were 
astir the affair was over. Espinosa, one of the leaders, was 
captured. Informing the citizens of the gravity of the situa- 
tion, Mott delivered his prisoners to them for safe keeping, and 
hurried back to the Simi Pass to take position and endeavor to 
intercept others, and to dispatch a courier to Captain Thomp- 
son. By this time, however, it had been ascertained that the 
whole force of the insurgents, in broken bands, were working 
their way north, and most fortunately Tom Mott had got ahead 
of all of them. 

This was the strangest circumstance in the uprising, that in 
breaking up they should have gone north, when it was only an 
easy day's ride, for men hard pressed, from the Santiago Canon 
to the Mexican line in Lower California. Before nightfall on 
the day Captain Mott struck the advance of the flying bandits, 
a large force guarded the passes going north. The San Fer- 
nando, the Santa Susana, the Simi and Conejo were filled with 
armed men. with intervening cordons that rendered escape in 
that direction next to impossible, while the plains and foothills 
were scoured in such manner that gave the fugitives no time 
for rest. The result of these masterly movements was that in 



5590 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

parties of lives, tens and twenties the bandits blindly rode into 
the traps so adroitly set for them and were all captured, includ- 
ing Juan Flores and Pancho Daniel. Andres Fontes having 1 
accomplished his purpose, severed his connexion with the band 
before they left San Juan, and with several of the horses and 
other spoil taken from Barton and his men, hurried away to 
Lower California, and from him much information concerning 
the Flores insurrection was thereafter obtained. He, however, 
soon met his fate at the hands of the notorious Solomon Pico, 
of Lower California revolutionary fame, by whom he was shot. 
He was undoubtedly the last of the Juan Flores gang. 

In a former chapter this Ranger historian declared his aver- 
sion to the relation of bloody and horrible incidents, and the 
very great pleasure it afforded him to write of amusing things. 
He therefore begs to be permitted to drop the curtain on the 
closing scenes of the terrible uprising of Juan Flores. An 
example was necessary, and a bloody example was made. 

Since the death of Murietta,Vulvia, Senati and Vergara, and 
the imprisonment of the monster Moreno, our southern country 
had enjoyed a two years' immunity from blood and rapine, and 
in this instance the country rose as a man. Spaniard and 
gringo rode stirrup to stirrup, determined to make such an 
example and to mete out such retribution PS would be a ter- 
rible warning to all future disturbers of the peace of our angel 
land. When the last man of the insurgent band had been 
hunted down and killed or captured, Tom Mott returned to San 
Buenaventura to get his prisoners, and found that, a la Pico, 
they had been "confessed." A large number had also been 
"confessed" at San Gabriel, and, in fact, in other parts of the 
country. And now we will drop the curtain on this bloody 
episode in our sanguinary history. The feeling of gratitude on 
the part of the gringo population to those noble heroes, Andres 
Pico and Tomas Sanchez, was such that Don Andres was soon 
thereafter appointed Brigadier- General of the National Guard, 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 391 

and Don Tomas was made Sheriff of Los Angeles county, and 
was permitted to hold the office for near ten years. Many of 
our citizens, both gringo and to the manor born, showed of 
what mettle they were made. The veteran Thompson gave 
evidence of a capacity to command that was an honor to "the 
school wherein he learned to ride," and proved that his train- 
ing on the frontier of Texas had well fitted him for the honors 
that were thrust upon him. William H. Workman, now of 
Boyle Plights, then a mere boy, so distinguished himself for 
daring, dash and rough riding, as won the admiration of the 
country. Of our gallant comrade, Cyrus Lyon, the language 
of the immortal Byron can be well applied : 

" Of all our band, 

Though firm of heart and strong of hand, 
In skirmish, march, or forage, none 
Can less have said or more have done." . 

Cyrus Lyon, a twin brother of Sanford, was born in Machias, 
Maine, November 19th, 1831. The two brothers came here in 
1849 as clerks for Alexander & Mellus. Both reside in Los 
Angeles County, prosperous and happy. 

During this terrible excitement every man and boy in the 
city was under arms, the veteran Dr. John S. Griffin being in 
command. I believe V. A. Hoover was an aid to Dr. Griffin. 
Wallace Wobdworth belonged to Mott's company. 

There was a member of Mott's company that deserves more 
than ordinary mention. He was a* clean, smooth and neatly 
dressed fellow named Alexander, universally known as "stut- 
tering Aleck." Aleck had been well brought up, was of good 
address, polite and gentle in his manners, and a natural born 
wit and humorist, and was an out-and-out and inveterate gam- 
bler. By birth a Mississippian ; the first we know of Aleck is 
when General Taylor's army was encamped at Walnut Springs, 
in Mexico, preparatory to its march on Monterey. One day 
while sunning himself "around headquarters a Mexican was 



392 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

brought in, of whom the General wished to make some 
inquiries. He accordingly addressed himself to Aleck and 
ordered him to bring some one who could speak Spanish. 
Aleck departed and soon returned with a Mexican, to whom 
General Taylor addressed himself by saying, "Ask this man 
when he left Monterey." 

The Mexican thus addressed looked mystified, and said, " No 
intiende." 

" Do you understand what I say to you, sir ? " repeated the 
General. 

"No intiende, sefior," was the reply ; whereupon the General 
became irate, and turning sharply to Aleck, said : 

" Did I not order you, sir, to procure me a person who can 
speak the Spanish language ? '"' 

" Wu-wu-wu-well, G-g-gu-Gen-er-al, I-l-I-I br-br-brought 
you a-a-a nitim-mum-man, who can't speak anything but 
Sp-sp-span-ish." 

It is needless to say that Aleck went away from the vicinity 
of General Taylor's headquarters on a double quick. At the 
close of the war Aleck went on board a transport at Vera Cruz 

to go to New Orleans, and gave his name as Alexander, 

M.D., and was summarily inducted into a state-room. Then 
came a fancy Lieutenant, whom the purser billeted with Dr. 
Alexander as room-mate for the voyage. It so happened that 
the Lieutenant recognized Aleck as an ambulance driver, and 
so reported to the purser, who hied himself to Aleck to know 
about it. " This officer," said the purser, pointing to the 
Lieutenant, " says you are not an army surgeon ; that you are 
an ambulance driver." "Army surgeon ? " repeated Aleck ; 
"who said I was an army surgeon ? " " Did you not give me 

your name, sir, as Alexander, M.D. ?" demanded the 

irate purser. " Oh ! certainly, sir," answered Aleck, in his 
inimitably droll and stuttering way ; " but in my case, sir, 
M. D. stands for mule driver." None but officers being permit- 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 393 

ted to enjoy the accommodations of the cabin, Aleck had 
adopted this ruse to escape the hardships of the steerage, and 
succeeded, the joke being so good that the many officers on 
board interposed in his favor, and during the voyage he was by 
all designated as Doctor Alexander. Aleck was a very reckless 
gambler, and was alternately "high up" and "low down." 
During one of his periodical downs he got greatly in arrear for 
board at the revered Bella Union, and was approached delicately 
thereon by the host, Dr. J. B. Winston. In his droll, stutter- 
ing way, Aleck turned to the Doctor and said, " Doc, let's 
compromise this board bill." "All right," said Winston ; 
"what do you propose?" "Well, Doc," Aleck continued, 
"fare's low to 'Frisco, and if you'll just come in here and buy 
me a ticket to go away on, I'll call it square." The Doctor 
seriously considered the proposition, bought Aleck a ticket for 
"'Frisco," and squared accounts. 

One time when steamship opposition had ran fare down to 
five dollars Aleck went on board a steamer at San Pedro with 
only $2.50 in his pocket, hoping that he might strike a friend 
or increase his capital by a small game of short cards, in both 
of which he was disappointed, and in the morning the steamer 
lay at Santa Barbara, a point at which the Los Angeles passen- 
gers were always called on to produce their tickets or pay their 
passage. Aleck was in a desperate strait and was walking the 
upper deck, shuffling his five half-dollar pieces in his hand and 
devising some way in which he might double it. The only 
persons on deck besides himself was a lady and little boy, who 
were observing objects on shore. "Mamma," queried the little 
fellow, " what is that big house over yonder ? " " That, dear, 
is a church," replied mamma. "Well, what is that house 
down this way with the big window in the end ? " " That, 
dear, is somebody's stable," said mamma. "Now, mamma," 
still queried the little dear, "what is that little bit of a house 
there with two little holes in the end?" " That," answered 



394 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 



mamma hesitatingly, "is somebody's pigeon house." . This 
was the first chance Aleck had found to double his capital — the 
first thing to get a bet on. So promptly confronting the aston- 
ished lady. Aleck stuttered out, chinking his $2.50 up and 
down: "Madam, would you like to bet two dollars and a 
half that that is a pigeon house ? " 




REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 395 



CHAPTER XXXIV. 

A Reminiscence of San Francisco — The El Dorado — A Great Gambling 
Hell — Clayt Sinclair and His High Betting — The Diamond Cluster 
Pin — A Chinese Thief — A Nest of Burglars and Counterfeiters — Cap- 
ture of the Gang — Cora and Richardson — The Allies — The Malikoff 
Retaken — The Union. 



NE of the warriors of antiquity in proffering to tell 
of the seige of Troy said, "I will tell you of what 




I - s ^ w , 'Hid of what 1 was." In writing this book of 
reminiscences the author has endeavored to write of what he 
saw and avoid making a hero of himself. But in the follow- 
ing sketch he cannot avoid appearing as one of the principal 
actors, and begs the reader's forbearance for thus doing. 

When in San Francisco, reader, go thou to that sombre- 
looking old building, at the corner of Washington and Kearny 
streets, late the "Hail of Records," pass its portals, ascend to 
its topmost floor, go from room to room, descend from floor 
to floor until you reach the basement and hear the heavy 
rumble of wheels above you, and then inquire something of 
the past history of the old house, and should the walls answer 
you, as every particular stone and brick that go to form its 
massive walls could, they would tell strange stories of " El 
Dorado," the greatest gambling hell that the world ever saw. 
Each brick would tell of strange characters, of disappointed 
fortune seekers who, as a last venture, would tempt the fickle 
goddess in the gilded halls of the gilded pandemonium ; of 
fugitives from justice from all climes under the sun, including 
the Jew from Palestine and the Aztec from the valley of 



396 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

Mexico; of discarded lovers who sought to forget the dreams of 
early youth in the flowing bowl, and the painted harlots who 
floated around in a blaze of sparkling jems and a cloud of 
rustling drapery, of ladies of foreign accent, of former rank in 
the old world, who sat behind a mountain of gold and tempted 
the visitor with lansquinette, or the former Spanish peasant 
girl who assisted the New Orleans gambler, at his game of 
rouge-et-noir; of the Hidalgo who manipulated his monte cards 
behind a bank of a, hundred thousand dollars, of former minis- 
ters of the Gospel of Christ, who sought the ruin of souls in 
their games of faro; of the roulette man, with his wheel of 
fortune and his vociferous clamors of "Give us $5 on the 
Eagle Bird and go home with your pile in the morning." 

" The rondo man," "keno," and I was going to say the "three 
card monte-man," but let me say (the speaking bricks, I mean), 
there was too much grandeur in the El Dorado to permit of so 
thieving a game as the last mentioned, which emphatically 
belongs to modern times. The bricks will also tell you of the 
prosperous merchant arm-in-arm with the professional " capper" 
approaching the green baize-covered table with intent to win 
enough for his remittance by to-morrow's steamer. Did he 
succeed ? Oh no ! At first he won, then lost, lost, lost ! till 
all was gone, and with his brain maddened with wine and 
frenzied with despair, he seized a bag of $50-ingots, or slugs, 
brained the gambler in his seat, escaped from the room and 
was never after heard of. The thousand-tongued bricks will 
tell of thousands of fortunate gold-seekers on their way to 
sweethearts, wives and happy homes, who passed the fatal 
portal (which should have borne the inscription that Dante 
saw over the gatts of hell) and were fleeced of their gold, and 
went forth to join the great column of disappointed forty- 
niners whose wearied footsteps have traveled all the unexplored 
regions of the universe in search of a " New El Dorado," and 
whose fated bones have whitened on the deserts of the great 



REMINISCENCES OF A HANGER. 397 

interior of Arizona and of Mexico, or have mouldered in the 
tropical damps of Central and South America. Like the 
Wandering Jew, they march, march, march ! There is an 
inward monitor of discontent that urges them on in search of 
the " New El Dorado." Will they ever find it ? Oh, no ! 
not on this side of the river. 

Of all that wandering class who were tempted into the " El 
Dorado " by the fickle goddess, but few are left. They reveled 
in the halls of the gilded king for a night, and that one night 
sealed their doom, and made them wanderers upon the face of 
the earth. 

Diagonally across from the ''El Dorado" was Palmer, Cook 
& Co.'s Bank. It is of '54 I write. One night I went into the 
'"' El Dorado," and in passing around I found at one of the 
tables an old and intimate friend, with whom I had explored 
the regions of the Klamath, the Trinity, and of Scott liiver, in 
'50 and '51. My friend, by name Clayt Sinclair, now a resi- 
dent of Little Bock, Arkansas, was engaged in heavy betting 
at monte, was greatly excited, and had won heavily. We had 
not met for two years. He was rejoiced to see me, and ceasing 
to bet, and pushing over his pile of gold-dust and slugs to the 
dealer, said. " Take care of rny money fpr a minute," left his 
seat, and taking me by the arm, led me to one side, and 
excitedly exclaimed : 

" By Jupiter ! Horace, I have won $20,000, and am in a 
streak of luck." 

" How much did you commence with ? " I inquired. 

a Five thousand dollars," said he, and continued, " Do you 
play ? " 

"No," said I ; "you know I could never learn." 

" Good," said he ; "I have $25.000 on that table in dust, 
slugs, and certificates of deposit. The bank has $100,000, and 
I am going to break it or lose my $25,000. Now," he con- 
tinued, drawing forth and handing me his pocket-book, " here 



398 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

is a bill of exchange for $5,000. Should you remain with me, 
don't you return my pocket-book under any consideration until 
you see me on the steamer to-morrow. I am going home, and 
my ticket is also in the pocket-book." After vainly endeavor- 
ing to persuade him to take his money and retire with me, I 
promised at all hazards to hold on to his pocket-book, and -he 
returned to his betting. 

1 soon seated myself beside him. We were both mere boys 
in age at the time, and he went to betting with a continual 
run of good luck until he had won over half the bank's capital, 
and then his luck began to change, and in three hours he didn't 
have a dollar left. With the mien of a maniac he turned to 
me and demanded his pocket-book, I didn't have it ; I had 
quietly stepped up to the " Old Union," at Merchant street, 
and placed it in the hotel safe. I so informed him, omitting to 
designate the place I had left it. 

Clayt was as wild as a Comanche. Finally he sobered down 
into a moment of thought, then hastily taking a magnificent 
sparkling pin from his bosom, said to the gambler : 

" I gave $1,000 for this pin to-day at Joseph's, on Mont- 
gomery street ; lend me $500 on it." 

" Let me see," said a female voice, with a broken Mexican 
accent, from an adjoining table, and Clayt, without rising, 
turned in his seat and held the blazing jewel up until it caught 
the glare of the brilliant gaslight, and sent forth a spray of 
dazzling gleams that nothing but a pure diamond will do, 
when, in a twinkling, the pin was snatched from his grasp, and 
away flew the form of a Chinaman, bearing with him Clayt's 
last gambling stake, and I in hot pursuit. That Chinaman 
flew as on the wings of the wind, and so did I. Once or twice 
John was tripped up, but not caught. Out of the main hall 
into and through a back room, where a party were engaged in 
playing a game of short cards, I still ran after him, with a hur- 
rahing crowd at my heels. John seemed to know the way, and 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGEK. 39$ 

soon gained a pair of stairs that led from a lunch-room into the 
basement. Through the crowd of free-lunchers I bolted, and 
down-stairs we went, I and John all in a heap — the pursuing 
mob having momentarily lost the clue in the lunch-room. I 
thought I had him, but in a moment I was beset by a crowd of 
pig-tails that seemed perfectly wild with terror and excitement. 
The thief darted forward into and through a kitchen, and dis- 
appeared through the door, uttering a kind of yowl, which was 
neither a howl of rage, of defiance, or of joy, but seemed more 
of a signal than anything else. There must have been 
twenty Chinamen in that kitchen when I entered, many of 
whom disappeared before the baffled crowd of pursuers came in. 
I had fortunately seen the door open and shut at the further 
end of the kitchen, and was vainly endeavoring to follow, when 
several Chinamen interfered to prevent me, insisting that the 
fugitive Chinaman had doubled on me, and had gone out up 
the stairway through which we descended. 

By this time the kitchen was filled by the crowd from the 
gambling room, with two or three policemen, who, learning the 
circumstance of the robbery, commenced searching the China- 
men present, while I quietly stood guard at the door, feeling 
that I had cornered my man. The Chinese steward informed 
the policemen that he very well knew the Chinaman I had so 
rashly pursued down stairs, that he had escaped from the 
kitchen by the way he came in ; that he resided in a house on 
Dupont street, and that he. the steward, would conduct the 
officers thither and would guarantee his immediate capture, at 
the same time opening the door of the store room, through 
which I had seen my man disappear. To my surprise the 
fugitive was not inside. The room had neither door nor win- 
dow, except a securely-fastened grated door that opened oppo- 
site the street-grating above, as a ventilator. There was little 
or nothing in the room, save a pile of sacks of rice in one 
corner. The steward entered with a candle and the policemen 



400 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

had their laugh at me, and iSaid I was mistaken, that the 
Chinaman had outflanked me, and that they would go with the 
steward to Dupont street and capture their man. So the door 
of the store room was closed and the crowd commenced leaving 
the kitchen. 

I called one of the policemen to me and asked him if he 
would not go to the police headquarters and ask Jim McDonald 
(afterwards Chief of Police) to come around. He did so, and 
in a few moments McDonald was on hand, accompanied by 
Lees (then without fame). I stated privately to them that the 
Chinaman was in that room and that he had not escaped. 
Lees at once took the matter in hand and ordered all the 
Chinamen then present, except the steward, to the lock-up — 
cleared the kitchen of the crowd and then proceeded to investi- 
gate. It was then two o'clock in the morning. 

First, said Lees to the steward, who spoke English: "How 
many men have you employed in the kitchen, and what are all 
of these Chinamen doing here ? " 

"Oh," answered John, "we have one cook, one dishwasher, 
four men to tend lunch." 

"That makes six," said Lees. '-'What were all the others 
doing here ? " 

" They my cousins," answered the steward. 

We then re-opened the store room — the steward greatly 
embarrassed. 

"Why have you so much rice and nothing else ?" queried 
Lees. 

" Chinaman heap eatee lice ? " said John, Lees at the same 
time cutting the bamboo strapping of a rice bag, and at the 
same moment the steward dashed his candle to the ground, 
bolted through the door, which he tried to close after him. 
McDonald was too quick for him, however, and in a twinkling 
they had the darbies on him and he was properly secured; then 
relighting the candle Lees proceeded, and found the rice bag to 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 401 

be filled with earth. Then another, and another, all filled in 
the same manner. 

"By Jove, Mac," said Lees, "we've got the biggest thing 
out. I see through the whole thing. You take this fellow to 
the lock-up and return immediately with every man you can 
bring. See that they are well armed. Myself and this young 
man will stand guard until you return. Are you armed ? " said 
he to me. 

"No," said I. 

"Well, Mac, give him your revolver, he may need it. Oh, 
we've got them. Don't delay, Jim," said Lees, "hurry back," 
and away went McDonald with his prisoner. 

"What is it?" said I, mystified at Lees' confident manner. 

"Why, it is this," he answered: "About a week ago, at 4 
o'clock in the morning, I stopped on the crossing between Pal- 
mer. Cook & Co.'s corner and the corner opposite, and was 
listening to a noise I heard in the direction of Pacific street. 
Everything was still, and I distinctly heard picking, as though 
miners were at work directly under my feet. I remained and 
listened until daylight, and have watched the thing ever since. 
They have worked to the sidewalk on the Kearny street side of 
the bank. They are burglars tunneling to the bank vault, and 
we are now guarding the mouth of their tunnel. We have 
bagged the batch, young man. Ah! here comes Jim," and 
McDonald entered with half a score of policemen with lanterns 
and each man armed with a pair of navy sixes. 

Removing the pile of rice bags, sure enough we were at the 
mouth of the tunnel, which proved to be about two feet wide 
and high enough to admit a man's^ entering on his knees 'and 
elbows. ' 

"'Here goes," said Lees, and into the tunnel he went, revolver 
in one hand and lantern in the other. Pretty soon we heard 
his voice, a short struggle, the smothered detonation of a pistol 

shot, and while breathless with suspense, Lees came out back- 
26 



402 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

ward, dragging with him a wounded Chinaman — Lees himself 
being badly injured by a punch with a crow-bar. The steward 
was then sent for and ordered into the tunnel to bring out the 
miners, with the admonition that if he failed, fire and smoke 
would be used. In a moment he returned, followed by four or 
five as villainous a looking set of Mongolians as ever crossed 
the bay to San Quintin. 

As they came out they were- ironed and searched, the 
wounded one having concealed — in the folds of his pig-tail — 
Clayt's diamond pin. We had made a night of it. By the 
time the Johns were safely locked up we had no further use for 
candles — it was broad daylight. But Lees continued his inves- 
tigations. Under the stairs, down which I had come all a-heap 
with the Chinese thief, we found a securely-fastened closet con- 
taining the most perfect set of burglars' tools that could possi- 
bly be imagined. Old policemen said "nothing Christian half- 
way came up to it." Uor was this all. We found a half-dozen 
circular saw-mills, ingeniously contrived machines used for 
hollowing out fifty-dollar ingots and twenty-dollar pieces. 

In a minute one of the mills would cut out the middle of a 
coin, leaving just enough to hold it together, when the hollow 
would be run full of lead, and the edge creased and galvanized, 
and the deception was so perfect that over $20,000 of the 20's 
alone had been passed on the banks. 

The banks had now opened, and the Palmer, Cook & Co. 
Bank Managers were sent for; the tunnel was examined and 
found to be neatly timbered overhead and to reach within 
twelve feet of the bank vault. Lees gained great eclat, and 
deservedly so, in the matter.. I saved Clayt's diamond cluster- 
pin, his ticket and his $5,000 home stake. 

By the time the excitement was well over, and 1, with Lees 
and McDonald, came up stairs, we found poor Clayt looking 
dreadfully bad ; hadn't had his breakfast, and not a dollar in 
his pocket. I showed him the pin, introduced him to McDon- 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 408 

aid and Lees, and we all went to a back room in the "Union" 
to have a quiet cock-tail, for, be it known, gentle reader, not- 
withstanding I hadn't learned to gamble, I could then drink 
like a ward politician. It was now noon. The steamer had 
left at 10 A. M. Clayt would have to lay over two weeks. He 
had $5,000 left, thanks to his fortunate meeting with myself. 
We went to Garrison and stated the circumstance to him, and 
he endorsed the ticket for the next trip via Nicaragua. 

Clayt swore off gambling, but insisted on my exercising 
dominion over his funds until he was safe on board the steamer, 
which of course I did, and when on board I handed him a bill 
of exchange for $4,000 (having changed the $5,000 bill for 
$4,000, taking out the $1,000 for his personal expenses), and 
retaining the cluster-pin, whicli he insisted I should have as 
a remembrance of our adventure at the "El Dorado." 

Clayton Sinclair, who was well connected, reached home in 
safety, married and settled down, and ten years after our 
strange meeting in the great San Francisco gambling hell, I 
met him on the tented-field in the Army of the Southwest — 
both serving in the Grand Army of the Union. 

Lees is known to fame, and deservedly so. As for McDon- 
ald I never knew what did become of him, since '56, when he 
was Chief of Police in San Francisco. 

The Chinamen, to the number of some ten or a dozen, went 
over the bay. 

The hollowed out coins caused a grand sensation in banking 
circles, and a general overhauling of coins. As before stated, 
$20,000 in 20's were found, and to the Chinamen, I believe, we 
owe this adroit method of mutilating the coins. 

I omitted to say at the proper time that in the mining opera- 
tions the rice bags were used to pass out the earth from the 
tunnel, and would be carried away and disposed of by the out- 
side Chinamen. 

It was General Kichardson, United States -Marshal, who 



404 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

caine down to Los Angeles in '53 for the great Ohio mail 
robber, heretofore spoken of. In November, '55, this same 
Richardson was killed on Montgomery street, San Francisco, 
between Clay and Merchant, by Charles Cora, who in May, '56, 
was hung by the Vigilance Committee, in company with Super- 
visor James P. Casey, the murderer of James King of William. 
Cora was a bred and born New Orleans gambler. The General 
was an old faro dealer, and the two had been intimate. Rich- 
ardson had attained political position, but still continued his 
intimacy with his former gambling friends, and one night, in 
company with Cora and others, had been on a drinking bout, 
had made the rounds of the gambling houses and other places 
of dissipation, and were leaving the Bank Exchange, when 
Richardson conceived that Cora had given him some offence. 
On the day' following the United States Marshal attempted to 
slap the gambler's face, and was shot dead on the spot. An 
excitement ensued. The Bulletin was in full blast, and that 
sort of business had been made to seem odious, and Cora would 
have been peremptorily disposed of but for the fortunate diver- 
sion of the public mind in another direction, which was, that 
at this very juncture the "Allies" in San Francisco were cele- 
brating the foil of Sebastopol, and made a most brilliant 
display and procession, which, for the sight-seeing mercurial 
public, was an equivalent for a first-class hanging, and poor 
Cora was respited until a companion de voyage was found, and 
he was sent off in high official company, after having slain a 
high federal functionary. Cora was married on the gallows — 
a little piece of social comedy permitted by his executioners' — a 
foolish thingj neither tragic, dramatic, melo-dramatic, or 
farcical. All there was in it was that a harlot with whom he 
had been living desired to inherit a large property owned by 
Cora, in which she succeeded* 

It was strange, but nevertheless true, that during the Cri- 
mean war Young America gave the full weight of his influence 



REMINISCENCES OF A HANGER. 405 

and sympathy to Russia, and although at the time but few 
Russians were in San Francisco, when the grand procession of 
the "Allies " marched through Montgomery street, on their 
way to South Park, cheer upon cheer went up from the side- 
walks for Russia, and at early gas-lighting an immense meeting 
was held in front of Montgomery Block, which was addressed 
by Elkin Heydenfeldt and others. Resolutions were passed 
sympathizing with Russia ; bands of music were procured, and 
an immense procession formed and marched to Russian Hill, on 
Folsom street, to serenade the Czar's Consul, and to present 
him with a copy of the resolutions. Bill Ross, formerly of Los 
Angeles, was chairman of the meeting, and Albert H. Clark 
and the author were of the Committee to wait on the Consul, 
who lived within hearing of the music of the "Allies" at South 
Park The joy and gratitude shown by the Russian Consul on 
that occasion repaid us for the little outburst of Young 
American sympathy, not taking into account the magnificent 
improvised collation hurried up by the grateful recipient of our 
serenade. 

In the meantime the "Allies" were not having it all their 
own way at the Park. They had built a huge miniature Mali- 
koff of pastry and confectionery, which at a given signal was to 
be charged upon by the different divisions of the "Allies." 
Now it so happened that Charley Duane organized a big crowd 
of hard hitters, took position, and when the signal was given 
flung to the midnight air a Russian flag, carried the Malikoff 
by storm, and planting the banner of the Czar thereon, held 
the fort until rolling stock could be procured to carry away the 
captured candies and cakes forming the bastions and turrets of 
the Malikoff. 

Having mentioned the Union Hotel, it may be quite proper 
to say that, in '53 and '54, the Union was California's crown 
of glory. Every man visiting San Francisco could be found at 
some time during the day at the Union. Everybody went 



406 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

there ; the chivalry of the times had rooms in the house. 
What memories cluster around thy name, Oh ! Union ! In the 
zenith of their popularity those princes of good fellows, Myron 
Norton and Frank Ball, could always he found at the Union. 
Cobarrubias there held his levees, and in thy halls the grey-eyed 
nmn, Crabbe, and Bulbon, concocted their schemes of conquest. 
Broderick, Bigler, Ned Marshall, Henry S. Foote, all of the 
statesmen of the day, the Army and the Navy, patronized the 
Union. It was a great place for planning, for getting up cor- 
rupt schemes of legislation to rob the people and feather the 
nest of the schemers. Political appointments were discussed 
and fixed up at the Union ; " slates " were there made out, and 
•conventions attended to. Senatorial candidates had to run the 
gauntlet of the Union, likewise Collectors of Customs, and all, 
appointments, Federal, State and municipal, were discussed and 
disposed of at this famous place. When the Legislature would 
be in session at Vallejo, Benicia, or elsewhere, or when on 
wheels, the members thereof could always, on a Sunday, be 
found at the Union, in conference with the " lobby." It was 
at the Union, in '54, that Charles P. Duane and Jack Watson, 
of Los Angeles, so amused the guests and frequenters in a most 
lively skirmish with navy sixes. The Union was the fastest 
place in the world. What the rental of the house was I never 
knew, but this I vouch for as being true, that in '54 the little 
cigar stand at the entrance, just large enough for one man to 
stand in, rented for/o?tr thousand dollars a month. 




REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 407 



CHAPTER XXXV. 

The Great Colorado Desert — A. Legend— A Scientific Man Makes a Great 
Discovery— The Desert to be Filled with Water— The Widney Sea- 
Fremont to Fill it Up — General Stoneman Knocks the Bottom Out 
of It — A Tradition — The Ship of the Desert. 




after the massacre of John Glanton and his party, 
the military post of Yurna was established. A Lieu- 
tenant was the first to command at this hottest of all 
places. It was certainly a Botany Bay to the poor soldiers, 
who were doomed to roast and swelter in this fiery furnace. 
It is said that soon after the establishment of the post a soldier 
spread his blankets on the sand, in the cooling shade of a 
cottonwood, and dropped off into a deep slumber ; the sun 
wore around, the soldier continued to sleep until it struck him. 
and then he slept the sleep that knows no waking. When his 
comrades found him he was roasted and baked as though he 
had been grilled over a hot fire. They buried the poor fellow 
with all the honors of war, and tried to console themselves 
with the certainty of his having found a better place. But one 
night, at the hour whe,n ghosts do walk abroad, the sentry at 
the guard house challenged, " Who comes there ?" "A friud, 
Patsy McNerny, without the countersign," was the answer. 
" Corporal of the guard !" yelled the terrified sentry, on recog- 
nizing in the apparition the comrade who had been broiled on 
the sand a few days before. The Corporal appeared, and was 
informed by the apparition that he had been three days in hell, 
and the change of climate was too much for him, was too cold, 
so the devil, in sympathy, had furlonghed him long enough to 
come back and jret his blanket. 



408 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

The Lieutenant, commanding wisely made money during his 
brief authority at the crossing of the Colorado. At the time 
great numbers of Sonorefios were returning home with large 
quantities of gold extracted from the California mines. The 
Lieutenant halted them as they went by with the information 
that he was stationed at the crossing for the purpose of collect- 
ing the Government dues on the exportation of gold from the 
United States, and thus possessed himself of possibly half as 
much gold as had fallen to the lot of the renowned Jim 
Savage. When the news of this transaction reached the War 
Department the head thereof, doubtless envious of the good 
fortune of this banished son of Mars, instituted inquiries, which 
coming to the ears of this modern Croesus, he promptly 
resigned his commission, married an angel, settled down, and 
became one of the cow kings of a cow county. 

Although it was worth a man's life to attempt to cross the 
Colorado desert without being well provided with beasts of 
burden inured to travel, with well filled water casks, and with 
guides familiar with the lay of the land, as the drifting sands 
obliterated all traces of the road, and the danger of getting lost 
was imminent. Notwithstanding all this, soldiers deserted 
from Yuma and struck out for the cooling zephyrs of the coun- 
try " inside." In 1852 a party of deserters from Yuma were 
pursued and overtaken on the desert by the commanding officer, 
whose name I now forget. The resulUwas a terrible fight, in 
which the commander and his guard were slaughtered to a 
man and their bodies left to parch and blister on the heated 
desert sands until a few days thereafter they were found, taken 
to Yuma and decently disposed of. Many unfortunate travel- 
ers in their anxiety to get "inside" have perished on the 
burning wastes of the great desert. Losing their way they 
would wander here and there, following the apparition of a lake 
and green trees caused by that curious phenomenon of the 
desert called mirage. 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 409 

In laying the rails of the Southern Pacific Railroad the track- 
layers found a large number of skeletons of men, women and 
children whose bones lay in the exact position in which they 
had fallen and died — for be it known, reader, that no wolf or 
vulture ever penetrates the fiery basin of the Colorado. On 
this discovery being made known, the ; ' journey of death" 
of these unknown travelers suggested to the poetic mind of 
Kercheval the following terrible legend; 

LA JORNADA DE MUERTE. 

They had journeyed long and far, 
Toward the sinking evening star, 
From the far Missouri's shore, 
With their cherished household store, 
Turning from the Eastern gloam, 
Dreaming of a brighter home, 
Where the Western ocean laves r 
Fairest land with softest waves. 

Manhood strong in hopeful years, 
Woman with her smiles and tears, 
Youths and maidens in the flush 
Of life's morning, crimson blush, 
Childhood in its joyous glee, 
Heedless of the years to be, 
Silvery age and beauty fair, 
Strength and weakness — all were there ; 
Father, mother, husband, wife, 
All that tell of hope and life. 

Leaving home's soft hallowed gleam, 
For a brighter, golden dream, 
Snapping all the ties that bind, 
Turning, leaving all behind. 
Loosing all love's links at last, 
Garnered memoiies of the past 
Of the consecrated years, 
Altars reared 'mid smiles and tears, 
Tender voices, pleading eyes, 
Graves of loved ones — all the tits 
Fond and tender round us cast, 
That may bind us to the past. 

Where the savage bands hold sway, 
Onward, westward, journeyed they, 



410 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

Through (he land of lance and bow, 
Of the fierce Arapaho ; 
O'er the lonely, lonely miles, 
Through the treacherous defiles, 
Shrouded, dark, and murder-dyed, 
Death and danger side by side; 
Through the dread Apache lands, 
Through the Gila's weaiy sands, 
'Neath its sighing coltonwood, 
Westward, till at last they stood, 
Weary-worn and travel-sore, 
On the Colorado's shore. 

Hazy dimness like a pall. 
Quivering, overshadowed all ; 
On the river's farther shore, 
Desolation spread before. 
There the desert's fiery breath, 
Furnace-fanned and fraught with death, 
Ever casts its withering spell, 
Dark as sin and hot as hell. 
There the shriveled zephyr flees 
O'er the grave of perished seas, 
'Neath the glow of fiery skies, 
Hopeless, moaning, faints and dies. 

• 

Where the blasted levels lay, 

Slow they took their weary way, 
Through that awful desert-sea, 
Hopeful of the days to be. 
But a little — they should rest 
At the portal of the West — 
Of the earthly Paradise 
Overached by softest skies. 

Hour by hour they strove and toiled, 
Thirst-beset and furnace-broiled, 
All a night and all a d;iy, 
Toiling on their weary way ; 
Still another cruel night, 
O'er that awful desert blight, 
Every vein a stream of iiiv, 
Burning with a hot desire: 
Strength and courage almost spent, 
Saddened by some dread portent 
Ot a dark and direful end 
That they might not comprehend ; 
Slow their drooping beasts they urge 
Toward the dim horizon verge, 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 411 

Till each black and swollen tongue 
From the fevered lips outhung. 

Slowly sank the fervid sun 
When that day wa<* almost done; 
But a darker, death! ier pall 
Gathered threatening over all. 
Sudden swept the whirlwind's breath, 
O'er that dread expanse of death, 
And the burning sands arose, 
Drifting like the wintry snows, 
With their smothering, blinding wrack, 
Over fading trail and track, 
Like the mad waves tempest-tost, 
Till all things were hid and lost. 

Utter woe with ruin blent, 
When that blast of hell was spent, 
Beasts lay dead and dying there, 
Death, and horror, and despair, 
Like an awful nightmare pressed 
Dark and heavy on each breast. 
Slowly passed the night away. 
And another burning clay 
Found them of all hope bereft, — 
Not a drop of water left, 
Not a beast to give them aid, 
Not a shrub to give them shade; 
All around a dazzling gleam, 
Death and horror reigned supreme. 

Long they wandered where the sands 
Scorched and seared like burning brands, — 
Where the zephyrs faint and die, 
On the plains of alkali; 
But no crystal fount or stream, 
Gladdened with its silvery gleam — 
Scarce a hope its glimmer lent, 
Strength and courage almost spent. 

Sudden cried a drooping child, 
Starting with a gesture wild, 
As her face despair forsook, 
"There is water, mother — look! 
See! a lake spreads far and wide, 
And the green trees fringe its side." 
Lo! before their longing eyes 
Spread a dream of Paradise, 
Stretching brightly far away, 



412 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

Mirror-like the waters lay. 
Never fell the sun's hot kiss 
On a fairer oasis 
'Mid the burning wastes of sand 
Of swart Afric's lonely land. 
Glancing in the sun's bright beams,. 
Flashing far their dazzling gleams, 
Like a diamond's radiant light, 
Lay the waters pure and blight, 
And encircling, close and fond, 
Kose the emerald hills beyond. 

Swiftly o'er each burning brain, 
Rushed the flood of hope again. 
Soon their weary steps should rest 
In that Eden of the West, 
And their burning feet might lave 
In the cooling, 'crystal wave. 
Long that gleam their steps pursued 
O'er the awful solitude, 
Still evading with its glow 
Every footstep, fast or slow, 
Ever mocked their longing eyes 
With its glint of Paradise; 
Like the glitter of a star, 
Seeming never near nor far. 

Ever from their burning feet 
Seemed that vision to retreat, 
From their ardent longing haste, 
Till it vanished o'er the waste, 
Melted into dimness gray, 
Faded, fled and passed away. 

Still they struggled, staggering, blind, 
Doubt before and death behind ; 
Still pursued each mirage bright, 
Till it faded from their sight, 
Baseless as a midnight dream, 
Or the gorgeous rainbow's gleam. 



Years and years had sped and gone, 
Gloom of eve and flush of dawn, 
Silent each succeeding each, 
Never woke by human speech ; 
Never human footstep fell 
Faint to break that ghastly spell ; 
In the desert's fiery breath, 



KEMINISCENCES OF A KANGEK. 413 

Silence, mystery, awe and death, 
Brooding ever still the same, 
When the mighty builders came, 
Laying down their iron track 
O'er the desolation black, 
With resistless Titan tread, 
Heedless of the wastes outspread, 
Clasping firm the iron bands, 
Linking lands to sister lands, 
When they paused at what they saw, 
With a mute and trembling awe. 

Ringed around in circle white, 
Holding each to other tight, 
Bleaching skeletons lay there 
With their empty sockets' glare, 
Vacant staring, westward turned, 
Still as when the eyeballs burned, 
With that last despairing look, 
When life's quivering pulse forsook. 
Not a rav'ning beast or bird, 
Fleshless limb or trunk had stirred ; 
Not a hungry wolf might dare 
Thus to brave the desert's glare, 
In that waste of terror wide — 
Thus they lay as thus they died. 

O'er those men of iron fp 11 
Tearful pity's tender spell, 
As they gaze*' with halting breath 
On that circle dread of death, 
And they left them to their sleep 
In that stillness lone and deep, — 
Awed and fearful turned away, 
Turned and left them as they lay, 
With a whispered, trembling prayer, 
In that awful silence there — 
Left them with a shuddering thrill, 
Firm in death, united still. 

In 1S53, and for many years thereafter, Doctor Wozencraft 
urged upon the Government the advisability, practicability and 
necessity of reclaiming the Colorado desert, by the introduction 
of water, through irrigating canals, from the Colorado River. 
A great many theories have been advanced as to the causes that 
produced this wonderful basin of burning sand, and the philo- 



414 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

sophical mind of the author could reach no further than to 
believe that whenever or however the infernal place had been 
formed, nature was certainly in a very bad frame of mind — an 
ill-humor, out of sorts ; or that if ever contemplated in the 
" plan of creation," the Creator had overlooked or forgotten to 
give the finishing touch to this part of his work, or had let 
out the contract to a sub-contractor, without taking a sufficient 
surety bond. 

The Government made several reconnoisances of this dis- 
jointed part of creation ; one by order of Jefferson Davis, Secre- 
tary of War, in '53, and made under Lieutenants Parke and 
Williamson. The military command of the reconnoisance was 
under General George Stoneman, then a Captain. This sci- 
entific reconnoisance failed to discover anything other than 
the Colorado desert, which looked as old as the hills which 
surrounded it. The object of this survey, however, was the 
examination of the most available pass to San Diego for a 
southern transcontinental railroad. Notwithstanding thou- 
sands of people had journeyed through this frightful basin, and 
the Government had sent a scientific commission to examine it, 
nothing peculiar was observed concerning it until about 1865. 
A young surgeon of volunteers passed over this desert on his 
way to Arizona. The western rim of the basin at Carizo Creek 
is composed of almost perpendicular cliffs of soft red rock, and 
high up on the sides thereof you can see, as plainly defined as 
the cornice on the Capitol at Washington, the water level of a 
former sea or lake. The Doctor, observing this, concluded 
that this basin of burning sand must have at some former time 
been filled with water. This was the discovery of a scientific 
circumstance. Journeying through Arizona, the Doctor discov- 
ered evidences of a former dense population of civilized people. 
This was another scientific circumstance. He further observed 
remains of ancient forests. Here was another scientific circum- 
stance. The acute scientific eye of the Doctor noted many other 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 415 

circumstantial evidences of that devil's land having once been 
God's country. That, to have supported a dense population of 
civilized people Arizona must have been a fertile land; to have 
produced and grown forests it must have had moisture, and 
from the lack of moisture the former forests died out, and from 
the same cause the fertile fields of the former inhabitants be- 
came the sterile wastes that so blast the eyes of those who now 
traverse them; that the unfortunate inhabitants had from 
these causes died of famine, or had in a body left the country. 
What could have been the cause of all this, reasoned the scien- 
tific mind of the Doctor ? He saw the effect, and there must 
have been a cause. This the learned gentleman readily traced 
to the drying up of this inland sea. Keeping his own counsel, 
when the Doctor returned to the Colorado river he observed 
that when the river was very high, it had cut a slough through 
its porous bank, and that the water rushing through discharged 
itself into the desert. Here was a ' discovery deduced from 
scientific observation, that would stand second only to that of 
Columbus, in his, at the time strange assertion, that one could 
go east by sailing west, or the immortal Doctor Money's dis- 
covery of the " Zwirro Zwirro," a curious plan of which may 
be seen on the file of records of Los Angeles county. 

"The dessicating climate of Arizona, New Mexico and Chi- 
huahua (thus reasoned the Doctor), shall be moistened; trees 
shall be made to grow on plains, where Gila monsters and 
rattlesnakes do now die of thirst; Arizona shall be repeopled, 
and the joyous laugh of the happy husbandman shall resound 
where desolation now reigns supreme. A desert of greater ter- 
ritorial extent than that subjected to the dominion of Christ by 
the great Conquistador shall be made to blossom as the rose. 
Cortez tumbled down the heathen temples of Anahuac. This 
discovery will cause to be erected thousands of Christian spires 
pointing heavenward, where now the owl keeps silent because 
of there being nothing at which to hoot." 



416 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

Was not this a grand conception ? "A plan of creation" as 
was a plan — the outcroppings of a sublime creative genius ? 

"All this change shall be wrought by deepening that over- 
flowing artery of the Colorado River, and filling the desert 
basin with fresh water." 

" This will produce moisture. Moisture is all that is neces- 
sary to restore these desert lands to their former fertility." 

All of these scientific reasonings and discoveries the Doctor 
gave to the world through the medium of the Overland 
Monthly. So astounding was this to the savants, that some 
up-country college 'conferred on this remarkable discoverer 
(who was to confer on mankind so great a blessing at so little 
expense) the degree of Master of Arts, and all angel-land 
rejoiced thereat. 

The all powerful Star of the Angel City demanded that the 
thing be done, and without delay. That a company be 
organized to shoulder their shovels and go down, deepen that 
natural ditch and turn the water in and refill the basin. That 
the basin should no longer be called the Colorado desert. That 
the maps should be changed and the Colorado desert should be 
forever after ca led, named, designated and known in honor of 
the discoverer as 

" THE WIDNEY SEA. " 

The angel world agreed with great unanimity as to the feasi- 
bility of the scheme. About this time a party of surveyors 
were sent from San Francisco to survey the flat lands at the 
mouth of the Colorado, and it was rumored that the party had 
gone down to fill the desert with water. This filled the angel 
mind with indignation. This was our discovery and we were 
going to have all the honor thereto belonging. If necessary 
force should be used to prevent this outrage threatened by our 
great northern rival. It so happened that one of our most 
prominent angels had a brother who was in charge of that band 
of up-country surveyors, and he wrote to him a feeling letter to 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 417 

find out what they were about. In due course of time the 
gentleman in charge of the survey (the brother of Captain 
Alfred James, the Register of the Land Office at Los Angeles) 
answered the inquiry frankly and assured us that he had no 
designs whatever on our " Widney Sea/' which gave us great 
relief, for in all truth we were always jealous and suspicious of 
San Francisco. 

Many of our more practical angels now began to interpose 
objection to filling the "Widney Sea" with water and thereby 
changing our heavenly climate to one of moisture and malaria. 
"Any change in Arizona/' said they, " would be for the better; 
but no change could improve the perfection of climate and 
beauty of scenery in our angel land." Others argued that 
with the remarkable fertility of our soil a moist climate 
would produce an unnatural vegetable and animal growth, that 
our boasted orange groves would be ruined, that the trees 
would attain the size of the sequoia gigantea and the fruits 
thereof would be larger than the largest Monte pumpkins, that 
our harmless little snakes would become boa constrictors, and 
the little horn frogs grow as large as a Florida alligator, and the 
gophers and squirrels that now so vex us would obtain the size 
of elephants and grizzly bears. Still others maintained that 
by making this great inland sea, serious complications would 
arise; that the Government had granted the right. of way 
across the Colorado desert to three or more railroad companies, 
and in its might would interfere and stop us in our aims; that 
it would not permit us to interfere with railroad construction 
to th'e Pacific ocean. These questions became as serious, bitter 
and uncompromising as the controversy between the " Big 
Endians and Little Endians" of Gulliver's travels, and delayed 
the consummation of the little job until the Pathfinder was 
sent out by the Government to be the gubernatorial head and 
ruler of the gentle Arizonians, and on his way thither laid over 

in the Angel city to review the scenes of his former triumphs 
27 



418 REMINISCENCES OK A RANGER. 

and glory. Here he was interviewed by those in favor of filling 
the " Widney Sea" with fresh water. He accordingly, after a 
careful examination, determined that the thing could and 
should be done, and about 1879 went to Washington to solicit 
government aid thereto. The practical mind of all this sug- 
gested to General Geo. Stoneman an arithmetical computa- 
tion as to the amount of water and the length of time necessary 
to fill our " Widney Sea," and he gave to an audience of 
astonished angels the result of his calculation in a public lec- 
ture in the words and figures following, to-wit: 

"Much has been said of late regarding a great geological 
basin, lying between the coast range of mountains in California 
and the Colorado river on the east. This basin is represented 
as being three hundred miles long, fifty miles wide and three 
hundred feet deep — about the size of Lake Erie. We are told 
that Governor Fremont, of Arizona, has just returned from 
Washington, where he has been for the purpose of inducing 
Congress to lend the aid of the Treasury to enable some one to 
fill this basin with water. The Governor has been, during his 
checkered life, engaged in some grand and conspicuous enter- 
prises, but in this case he has evidently laid his plans before he 
consulted his figures. Let us make the calculation for him. 
To fill such a pond in one year, supposing the bottom to be 
water-tight and evaporation entirely checked, would require a 
small stream twenty miles wide, twenty feet deep, with a cur- 
rent of three miles an hour. To fill such a lake by a stream 
one thousand feet wide, ten feet deep, and running at the rate 
of three miles an hour, would take two hundred years. After 
this lakjB was filled it would require a river two hundred and 
fifty feet wide, ten feet deep, and running at the rate of five 
miles per hour — about the size of the Colorado river at ordinary 
stages — to compensate for evaporation at the rate of eighteen 
inches per year. Archimedes, you know, said that he could 
move the world, only give him a fulcrum. Fremont says he 
can make sea, only give him plenty of greenbacks. The one is 
about as impracticable as the other chimerical. When he 
makes his estimates he will come to the conclusion that long 
ere he can fill his basin with water, the great Engineer of the 
universe will have filled it with the sands of the desert, driven 
down by the ever-prevailing winds of the north. In the mean- 
time it will probably be used for the purposes intended by the 
Almighty — the occupation by the horned toad, rattlesnake and 
Southern Pacific Railroad." 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 419 

We were somewhat chilled by this cool disposition of our 
hopes; so much so that we have thence hitherto kept our peace 
on the subject, and it is with deep chagrin that we confess the 
mortifying fact that General Stoneman knocked the bottom out 
of the 

"WIDNEY SEA/' 

Many, many long years or centuries ago — long before the 
Conquistador, with his steel-clad followers, met in mortal com- 
bat the effete warriors of Aztec land, conquered their capital, 
and extended the dominion of Spain to the northern confines of 
civilization in the new world — yes ! tradition hath it, that 
where the Colorado desert reigns in its awful solitude, a great 
sea of fresh water existed, having no connection with the great 
ocean, with the most beautiful river discharging its constant 
flow therein. This beautiful inland sea was studded with 
islands of tropical beauty ,, with evergreen forests, filled with 
birds of brilliant plumage and of sweetest song. That the 
crystal waters of this sea, or lake, were alive with beautiful 
fishes, colored with sunlight and tinted with the hues of the 
rainbow, and myriads of aquatic fowls covered its placid bosorn. 
Forests of magnificent trees descended from the mountain 
crests and kissed the limpid waters at their feet, and broad and 
far-stretching savannas were spread out like carpets of varie- 
gated colors, over which ranged countless herds of antelope, and 
gamboled the elk and the deer. On the western shore of this 
great lake dwelt in all human happiness and prosperity the 
powerful Mojaves, while the eastern bank was dominated by 
the warlike Cocopahs, who collected an annual tribute from the 
more refined and less warlike Mojaves. Among other things, 
and most grinding of all, the gentle Mojaves were bound to 
furnish annually a large number of their most beautiful virgins 
to supply the harem of the licentious Cocopah King. Many 
times the Mojaves discussed in solemn council the question of 
resisting this humiliating exaction, but being admonished by 



420 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

the power, warlike and ferocious character of the terrible 
Cocopahs, the matter was always postponed until a future and 
more favorable time. 

At last an old king of the Mojaves, whose policy had been 
one of peace and submission, died, and was succeeded by his 
son, a man of high mettle, who had trained himself and the 
subjects of his father in the arts of war. A very short time 
after his accession to the throne, the Cocopah Commissioners 
appeared at the Mojave capital to receive the annual tribute, 
which the young king flatly refused to pay, sending a message 
to the Cocopah despot that he could not send warriors enough 
to cany away even one Mojave maiden ; that the men of 
Mojave wanted the daughters of the kingdom for wives, and as 
such were able to defend them. 

Terrib.e was the wrath of the Cocopah King at receiving 
this unheard of defiant message. He at once ordered the great 
war drum to be beaten; that its reverberations might be heard 
on the utmost confines of his dominion; that his warriors might 
assemble at his capital on the shores of the great lake. The 
Mojave King in the meantime was wide awake to the respon- 
sibility he had assumed and resolved to at once cross the water 
and attack the despot in his capital. No time was lost in 
preparation; a flotilla was launched, and the very flower of 
the Mojave chivalry, with their heroic King leading the van, 
crossed over the smooth waters of the lake and fell upon the 
Cocopah capital with such terrific fury that their warriors fell 
before them as reeds fall before the fierce norther. The sur- 
vivors fled to the forest like startled antelope, leaving the proud 
city of the Cocopahs with all its treasures the spoil of the con- 
queror. Returning to his capital the Mojave king was received 
with great rejoicing by his exultant subjects. But his great 
victory only impelled him to greater exertion; his success h'e 
well knew was not owing to strength or superiority of prowess, 
but to the superlative audacity of the attack. He knew full 



REMINISCENCES OF A HANGER. 421 

well of his utter inability to maintain an aggressive war, so he 
made vigorous preparations for defense. 

In due course of time the pent up Cocopah storm burst upon 
the well prepared Mojaves, and deluged their beautiful land 
with blood. After conflicts unparalleled in fierceness, the 
invaders were driven across the Silver Lake, and the Mojave King 
was again victorious. Now followed a war on the lake, some- 
times with advantage to the Mojaves then to their enemies ; 
they strove for the possession of the emerald islands of the 

Silver Lake. At last dominion over the lake was won to the 

* 

Cocopahs and the Mojaves beaten — but not defeated — aban- 
doned the conflict on the water and retired to their defensive 
works on the main land. By this time — and the war had raged 
for years — the Cocopah King had enlisted under his banner the 
fierce Yumas, the rich Pimas and the powerful Maricopas,. 
and assembled an army that in numbers was beyond the 
powers of computation. When the valiant Mojave King 
received information of this formidable alliance he gave up all 
hope of successful defense, but resolved to bury himself and 
people in the ruins of his country rather than submit. He 
would have fain carried the war into the Cocopah country, and 
have battled this mighty host on their own land, but his fleet 
was gone, his treasury was depleted, the flower of his warriors 
were dead, but the oracles of the Mojaves still assured him of 
victory, and when the flotilla of the invading host appeared 
upon the bosom of the beautiful lake, the defiant Mojave king 
with the remnant of his army grimly awaited their landing. 
On they came ! Their great war canoes in numberless lines 
extending to the right and left as tar as the eye could reach. 
It was a beautiful day and the sun gleamed and glittered on 
the water rippled by the numberless paddles of the, great fleet 
as it swept in the majesty of might over the mirror surface of 
the tranquil lake. The advance line is now midway from the 
middle of the lake to the Mojave shore, when there appeared 



422 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

in the far horizon, ominous spiral columns of revolving clouds. 
They came sweeping over the surface of the placid waters in 
gyrating circles, the smaller columns uniting with and being 
absorbed by the greater, around which they all revolved, and 
by the time they m-aivd tim left of the lines of the great flotilla, 
they had all united iu one grand gyrating circular column of 
great height. Now the astonished Mojaves can hear the thun- 
der of its march, can see the disturbed waters as they form in 
grand and foaming crests as the monster sweeps along with a 
terrible roaring sound. Now it strikes the flotilla, and the 
great war canoes in thousands disappear in the foam and spray 
of wind and water met in terrific conflict. The great whirl- 
ing, foaming and awful monster of destruction now settles 
down over the very center of the lake, and the flotilla of the 
invading host spins around and around until the last one is 
drawn into its devouring embrace. But still it gyrates and 
increases to such immensity of size that the sun is obscured 
and darkness falls upon the face of the earth. A great tornado 
strikes the terrified Mojaves and fells the forest around pnd over 
them and kills and destroys them in great numbers, and a 
stupor of terror overcomes the survivors, who lie thus they 
know not how long. The King is the first to arise, he beats his 
war drum to call his warriors around him; only a few answer 
to the call, the many having been crushed by the fallen forest. 
The sun shines brightly and the king and the survivors of his 
army look toward the beautiful lake, and lo ! it has disappeared 
— it has been dried up. The emerald islands are gone, and 
nothing remains but the white sand glittering in the bright 
sunlight. The King looks around; all is desolation, and he 
thinks a general ruin has fallen upon the world. He turns his 
face away from the dried up lake, and followed by his surviving 
warriors he wends his way toward his capital which he finds 
in the valley of perpetual bloom as he left it, and when the 
astonished Mojaves are informed of the terrible doom that fell 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 428 

upon their enemies, and notwithstanding the drying up of the 
beautiful lake and the loss of so many of their warriors, they 
rejoice, glorify their King, and are happy. 

About the time of the excitement about the " Widney Sea," 
Captain Joshua A. Talbot (a veteran explorer, whose fame as 
such has not been confined to the Pacific slope, but has crossed 
the Andes of South America, and descended into the valley of 
the mighty Amazon, and gone over the sea to Australia), in 
one of his many explorations, journeying on the desert, came 
upon the hulk of a ship half buried in the sand. The Captain 
and his followers were speechless in the intensity of their 
amazement. They looked at each other, then looked at the 
ship. They gazed at the ship, and then looked inquiringly 
into each other's Ryes ; and then they commenced to walk 
around and clamber to her long-deserted deck, and examine 
this wonderful discovery. The rigging, of course, was gone. 
The masts were worn down to short and rounded stumps, as 
were the bulwarks, almost even with the deck (so said the 
discoverers), all caused evidently by the raspings of time and 
drifting sand. The depleted water vessels of the Captain and 
his comrades admonished them that further delay would be at 
the risk of their lives, and they reluctantly abandoned their 
prize, and'pushed on to the next watering-place, and thence to 
the angel city, and reported the discovery, and filed their claim 
to all the treasure therein contained. Uncle Josh (so called) 
and his fellow-explorers at once became heroes, each the centre 
of a ciicle of anxious inquirers. Uncle Josh was of the opinion 
that the vessel was a Spanish galleon, and was undoubtedly 
laden with doubloons, and that at the lowest possible calcula- 
tion there were millions in it. 

This opinion w'as dissented to by some of the more nautical 
of the discoverers, who maintained that the build of the ship 
resembled a Chinese junk, while an Italian insisted that it was • 
in his opinion an ancient Roman war galley. These various 



424 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

opinions gave rise to a learned newspaper controversy as to the 
origin of the ship, and how she came to her present place of 
repose. One more practical reasoned that " the vessel was one 
lost from the first, expedition of the Conquistador to explore 
the Sea of Cortez; that a strait connecting the ' Widney Sea' 
and the Sea of Cortez had been closed by a violent storm, that 
the vessel was abandoned by her crew; that by evaporation the 
cut off sea had dried up and left the ship dry on the sand." 
Another produced abundant authority to prove that the ship 
was one of a Tartar fleet driven to our coast; that in the year 
1280 Genghis Khan, the Great Mogul, after having subjugated 
China, fitted out an expedition of 240,000 men in 4,000 ships 
under his son Kublai Khan for the purpose of conquering 
Japan. While this expedition was on its voyage to that coun- 
try a violent storm arose and destroyed a great part of the fleet 
and drove many of the vessels to the coast of California, and 
Uncle Josh's prize was surely one of that fleet. A very wise 
angel waited until all of the others had their say, and then he 
settled the question and produced such unimpeachable author- 
ity that all save Uncle Josh gave it up. 

This sabe lo todo argued " that the strange ship was without 
the shadow of doubt one of the ships that carried a part oi one 
of the lost tribes of Israel that found their way to and peopled 
California. As authority he referred to the Book of Mormon, 
the revelations of Joseph Smith, Brigham Young and others of 
the Latter Day Saints of holy inspiration, and as further evi- 
dence he pointed to the singular physiognomical resemblance 
between our Jewish population and the aboriginal inhabitants." 

This elaborate fulmination of the learned man was deemed 
conclusive, and we all gave it up except the gallant Talbot, 
who stood by his former opinion and put his faith and his 
money in a- train of jackasses laden with water casks, shovels, 
axes, crowbirs, cold chisels and canvas bags wherein to carry 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 425 

away the doubloons, and followed by his fellow discoverers set 
out for the desert to loot his prize. 

For once in his life the sapient veteran was mistaken, but 
what of that ? He paid for his mistake. The ship of the 
desert turned out not to be a Spanish galleon; neither was she 
a Roman war galley; not a Chinese Junk or one of the lost 
fleet of Genghis Khan; nor the luckless craft that brought the 
lucky Hebrews to this Happy land; but the ship of the desert 
turned out to be a craft formerly built by Messrs. Perry and 
Woodworth, of Los Angeles, to be used in explorations on the 
Colorado river; that her motive (mule) power gave out on the 
desert and she was abandoned to become a theme of discussion, 
for men of learning and of Science. 




426 ' REMINISCENCES OF A KANGEU. 




CHAPTER XXXVI. 

A Reminiscence of Sacramento — King Solomon Gets His Gold in Califor- 
nia — An Ancient Description of the Country— The 200- Pound Dia- 
mond — The El Dorado War — Murder — The Diamond Again — Smirmish 
With Indians — A Discovery — Gold Lake — San Francisco — T. Butler, 
King and Uncle Sam's Coin- Frank Ball Again. 



AUGUST, 1850, with three companions, I was en- 
camped under that old, historical oak tree on the levee 
at Sacramento, just below the foot of J street and almost 
overhanging the landing of the steamers Neio World, Senator 
and McKim. 

My story commences on a beautiful Sabbath afternoon, and 
of course many of our readers will remember how a Sunday 
afternoon looked in the "Crescent City" in the summer of 
1850. To those who don't know, I am going to inform them 
as best I can. 

In the first place, imagine yourself at the " Humboldt," away 
out on J street — a grand rag palace or gambling hell, literally 
swarming with gamblers and desperadoes of all classes and 
nativity, with brazen-faced, gaudily-dressed, painted and pow- 
dered harlots, who sat beside the gamblers at the monte-banks, 
faro-tables, rouge et noir, lansquinette, roulette, rondo and 
other games; but I hereby bear witness that these games were 
played at the "Homboldfc" with a greater degree of fairness, 
integrity and honor than could have been found in any other 
country on the face of the earth, because if a man was caught 
cheating he was killed on the spot — that such contemptible 
thieving as three-card monte, chuck-a-luck, and such kindred 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 427 

games, were no more tolerated at the "Humboldt" at that 
time than they would be in the grand reception-rooms of the 
Palace Hotel to-day; and I will say as much for the "New 
Orleans," "Woodcock" and the "Empire" (the latter was 
kept by Butler, brother to Benj. F. Butler, of Massachusetts) 
at Sacramento, the "El Dorado" and "Bella Union," of San 
Francisco, and all other first-class gambling houses at the time. 
The California gambler in those days was a magnate in the 
land, and had as much honor or more at stake in the fair-deal- 
ing of his bank as have our State and national rulers, our mod- 
ern bankers, our revenue collectors, and all our officials at the 
present time in the honest discharge of their duties. The first- 
class gambler at that time was a man of integrity — a dignitary. 
A miner who came to Sacramento or San Francisco with a hun- 
dred or five hundred ounces was just as safe to deposit it with 
any of the great gamblers, at those noted places of pioneer 
times, as one is to-day to intrust his money for safe-keeping to 
the bank of California. 

My intent, however, is not to dwell upon the good qualities 
of the great gamblers of "the days of gold," but to give the 
reader an idea of how things were in Sacramento thirty-one 
years ago. 

Of course there was a first-rate band of music at the " Hum- 
boldt," as at all others. Passing down J street, in every block 
you found gambling-houses in full blast, but all of inferior 
note, until you reached the "Empire," near the levee, which 
was in all respects the peer of the "Humboldt." The music 
in these places, the clinking of great piles of $50 gold slugs, 
the noise of the bags of gold-dust as the reckless miners would 
throw them upon the table and " go their pile " on the " eagle- 
bird," or bet a hundred ounces on the turn of a card, and the 
constant cry of the roulette-man of " Make your game, gentle- 
men!" "Away she spins !" "Double O, red!" caused a great 
din and clatter, and to add to the noise imd confusion of the 



428 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER.. 

whole street, from the "Humboldt" to the " Woodcock," old 
Joe Grant, of sainted memory, went roaring along : " The New 
York Herald, Louisville Journal and Missouri Republican! 
only a half-a-dollar apiece ! Who -.vants to go to 'Frisco ? 
'Ere's a ticket on the Senator ! Don't go on the McKim; if 
you do you'll get drowned ! She'll be sure to sink 'fore she 
gets there! Buy your tickets for the Senator!" The Joe 
Grant here referred to was an Illinois man, and the pioneer 
news vender and steamboat runner at Sacramento, and after- 
ward became th« proprietor of the famous Knight's ferry — the 
same man supposed to have been General U. S. Grant, who in 
fact was not in California until, I believe, '54. The street was 
thronged with men of all colors and classes, on foot or on 
horseback, and with pack-mules, going to or coming in from 
the mines, with a general pushing, jamming and crowding of 
everybody. This is about as it was on a Sunday afternoon at 
the time referred to. And now about the two-hundred-pound 
diamond. 

I had passed up and down the street, had visited the " Hum- 
boldt " and " Woodcock " and " Empire," and had returned 
to our camp under the big oak, and was sitting with my back 
resting against its huge trunk, engaged in reading, when 1 was 
politely accosted by a venerable-looking man, genteelly clad in 
miner's costume, who begged to know what I was reading. On 
being told that the book which I was reading was a copy of the 
Bible, he manifested much surprise, and gravely shaking his 
head, said : 

"Strange, indeed, a boy of your age engaged in reading the 
Holy Book, when surrounded by go many temptations to evil." 

He then went on with a strange lecture on the danger to youth 
and inexperience in this wonderfully wicked land, where every 
thought, wish and desire were for gold, gold, gold. He essay- 
ed to give some good advice which I reverently listened to. 
His manner was grave and dignified. His language, although 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. > 429 

partaking of a foreign accent, was more than good : it was 
elegant. The old man remained conversing with me for a 
full hour, and on taking his departure invited me to visit his 
camp on the edge of the wood, at about the foot of P street. 

According!} 7 , on the following day I made the visit, and 
found him beautifully tented under the boughs of a great 
spreading oak, with everything pertaining to his camp the 
very perfection of neatness. Within three days the old man 
and myself became very intimate. I had informed him 
where I was born and reared, of my ancestors, and many 
other frivolous trifles. 

On the afternoon of the fourth day of our acquaintance, after 
partaking of the good cheer of his well-stockedlarder, he gravely 
informed me that he had something of importance to communi- 
cate. He said that he had been for some time seeking for 
one in whom he could repose enough confidence to confide 
a great secret. He was satisfied as to my moral integrity, and 
felt safe in confiding to me a secret that would make me far 
richer than the whole Rothschild family, and that he knew of 
the existence and location of a diamond of two hundred pounds 
weight. My credulity was somewhat staggered, and the old 
man seeing it, said : 

" My young friend, be patient until I am done. This 
diamond is no new thing." 

1 thought it must be very old, judging from its size, but I 
was patient and said nothing. 

" This diamond was once the property of King Solomon," 
my venerable friend continued, "and I will show you a book 
that proves it." 

He thereupon unrolled a bunglesome package and drew forth 
and held up before my astonished gaze an ancient and mys- 
terious looking book, printed in strange characters. t 

" Now," said he, " be silent and I will tell you all about this 
book and how it relates to the diamond. I am a Christian, 



430 * REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

though descended from the J?ws. My most remote ancestor, 

who wrote this book, was chief jeweler to the wi$e and rich 

/ 
King Solomon." 

" Good Lord !" said I, " that book w*is not written when 
Solomon was king ?" 

"Did yon not promise to keep silent," said he, quickly, 
"and not interrupt the thread of my story ? But to satisfy 
you, I will say that the book has been renewed every two hun- 
dred years since the original copy was made, and this book was 
written one hundred and ninety-eight years ago by my great- 
great-grandfather. Had I not found the diamond, it would 
have become my duty to reproduce this book two years hence 
and transmit it as a legacy to my descendants in the same 
manner that it has been handed down to me for so many 
thousands of years. Now, are you satisfied ?" said he. 

"Perfectly/' said I. 

" My most remote ancestor," he continued, "was Lord Chief 
Jeweler to the great Jewish king, and went on one of the great 
expeditions to the Land of Ophir in search of gold. And this 
isOphir!" said he, with a great emphasis, "and this book 
gives a much better and more minute description of the gen- 
eral topography of this country than any and all the modern 
books now extant. My great ancestor was at the head of a 
grand and separate division of the great expedition, whose 
special province it was to search for precious stones. The 
ships of the Jewish gold and diamond-seekers entered the 
Golden Gate, and established a city for the base of supplies at 
the place now called Vallejo, and the most eligible site on the 
bay at present," continued the old man. " The description in 
this book of the bay is perfect. They also had a depot at the 
place where we now camp. The gold miners spread out on the 
mountain slopes in about the same manner as they do now. 
The seekers for diamonds did the same, went further, but 
found no diamonds. In this book they describe every moun- 



REMINISCENCES OF A HANGER. * 431 

tain gorge and river bed where their search extended.. 
Finally they went beyond the great snow-barrier to the 
deep lake, and they found diamonds in abundance — the 
largest of which is the one now in question. My great and 
remote ancestor concluded to appropriate it to himself, as an 
official perquisite, he therefore concealed the diamond on the 
very summit of a great solid mound of time-enduring granite, 
on the margin of the great deep lake, and retraced his steps 
to the sunny side of the mountains, intending to return 
with a few chosen servants and secretly remove the great 
treasure. Arriving at the city on the bay, my remote ancestor 
found that the great and wise king had ordered the expedition 
to return forthwith, and that the whole grand gold and 
diamond-seeking enterprise in the land of Ophir was to be 
abandoned for ever. My unfortunate remote ancestor, having 
lost his great diamond and the chance of ever possessing it, set 
himself to describe the place where it is now concealed, and 
this book is the result of his wise and prudent forethought. 
With this book I was enabled to pursue my way to the lake and 
find the very granite cone whereon lies and has lain the great- 
est treasure the world has ever known for so many centuries. 
It now lies on the summit of and in the very centre of that 
same granite cone, that is now worn down by the action of the 
elements almost to the level of the water in the lake. I have 
been there and have seen and handled it.. I have examined 
it and know its immense value. I was taught to read this 
book, and have taught my children to read its world-forgotten 
characters. But none of the descendants of the original writer 
knew of or found the land of Ophir, wherein slept the great 
diamond. One year ago I was lapidary for the Czar of Russia 
— for that trade has been the hereditary calling of my family — 
and seeing daily accounts of the wonderful discoveries of gold 
in this remote and unknown land, and becoming more and 
more interested I sent to New York for the best description of 



432 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

the country, and obtained a copy of 'Fremont's Explorations.' 
On reading it the thought entered my mind that this might be 
Ophir. I compared the two books. I studied them until con- 
vinced that the mysterious secret of the great diamond was at 
last laid bare, and I made immediate preparations to visit this 
country. The first thing to be done was to copy a description 
of the country and the location of the great diamond, to be 
left with my family in case I should perish in the enterprise. 
So here we are, and if you will join me we will eat our Christ- 
mas dinner in St. Petersburg, and be far richer than ail the 
crowned heads of Europe." 

The old man had become excited ; his eyes glowed with an 
unnatural lustre, and his whole frame was in a tremor of excite- 
ment. His agitation was so great as to almost alarm me. 
Finally he quieted down, and I inquired of him how in the 
name of common sense we were to dispose of so immensely val- 
uable a treasure. He said : 

"In this way we will take it to St. Petersburg, and there, in 
my own laboratory, will cut it up. I will first polish up a 
diamond larger than the Kohinoor, and sell it to Queen Vic- 
toria. Then we will offer one to Louis Napoleon a little larger; 
and then we will go from monarch to monarch, offering to each 
successive one a diamond still a little larger. Then we will offer 
diamond necklaces in the same way, and we will get all the 
crowned heads of the world ambitious to outstrip each other in 
their display of diamonds. We will create the greatest excite- 
ment in the courts of Europe ever known, and in five years we 
can have all the money in the world, and mortgages on all the 
kingdoms of the earth. 

"What in the world will we do with such immense riches ? " 
said I. " What use will it be to us ? " 

"Ah!" he replied, "I have it all planned out. We will 
purchase Jerusalem and all Palestine — Egypt included — from 
the Grand Turk, and pay for the same in diamonds; restore 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 433 

the Holy City of Jerusalem to its former splendor; rebuild 
Solomon's temple, or build one of greater magnificence; recall 
and gather in the Jews, and re-establish the ancient kingdom 
of Judea." 

" Where will we get our king ? " I modestly inquired. 

"Get our king!" said he, haughtily. " He who restores a 
lost kingdom should be king, should he not?" 

" Oh, I beg pardon ! " said I. " Then you intend to be king 
of the Jews yourself ? " 

"And why not? Who would have a better' right ?" he 
replied. 

I was about to say: "If you attempt to play me that way, 
old fellow, when we are full partners, then you will be mistaken, 
because I think I would like to go into the king business 
myself;" and I smoothed back my long locks and imagined 
how grandly my head would look beneath a crown. 

Smothering my ambitious aspirations, however, I meekly 
inquired what disposition he would make of his California 
partner when he got to be the greatest king on earth — the suc- 
cessor of the mighty Solomon. 

"Well," he replied, "you shall have the place nearest the 
throne. As 1 have two beautiful daughters younger than 
yourself, who will become the greatest princesses in the uni 
verse, I will permit you to take your choice of the two, and 
then you will be closely allied to the royal family. ' 

The idea then suggested itself to me as to who would take 
the other, and that royal relationship might thereby be com- 
plicated. I thought, of course, in restoring the ancient king- 
dom the ancient laws would also be restored, and a man be 
permitted to take more wives than one; that I might make a 
sure thing as to my succession to the throne by taking both of 
the king's b3autiful daughters. Being young and modest at 

the time, I had not sufficient courage to broach the delicate 

28 



434 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

subject to the great embryo king of Jerusalem. So ended the 
discussion. 

We poured out a tin-cup of strong coffee, and I requested 
the old man to look at his watch. To my great surprise it was 
two hours past midnight, and we had been eleven hours dis- 
cussing the question. I swallowed my cup of coffee, wished 
the old man " good night," hurried away to my camp, turned 
in, and was soon in dreamland. Among other foolish things I 
dreamed I was at the great City of Jerusalem; that I was the 
Captain of the King's Host, and I had mustered in martial 
array all the Jews of Chatham street, to be reviewed by my old 
friend the king, who passed along the line with an immense 
diamond on his head. 

I woke up feverish and excited. My comrades had breakfast 
ready. A pint of strong coffee restored my nerves, and I set 
myself to work to digest the old man's offer. The first con-' 
elusion that I came to was that the old man was crazy; but 
then his intelligent manner, dignified bearing and grave 
demeanor went to ignore any such proposition. Then I 
thought of that mysterious book, and of his saying he had 
seen and handled the diamond. There was certainly some- 
thing in it. I believed it and would join the old man and go 
for the great diamond. We would purchase Palestine and 
Egypt, and — what ? At this point I burst out in a laugh, 
when old Patterson, who was frying some flap-jacks at the fire, 
turned to me and said: "I don't see where the laugh comes in. 
Can't a man flip a flap jack out of the frying pan without 
being laughed at ? Suppose you try it." I thereupon took 
the frying-pau and went to frying flap-jacks, all the while 
deliberating on the diamond question. 

I was full of the same spirit of adventure that a few years 
later sent me off filibustering. I was not given to hard work, 
and really expected to stumble on a magnificent fortune with- 
out any particular effort on my part; but buying Jerusalem 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 435 

and collecting all the Jews together was too much for me — it 
was more than I could stand. I tossed a flap-jack over my 
head, brought the frying pan down on the fire with a smother- 
ing crash, and said: " He's as crazy as a loon, d — d if he ain't!" 

"What's the matter?" said old Patterson. "Does the 
flap-jacks fluster ye, or did you get smoke in your eyes ? " 

"No," said I; "I just decided a question, that- was all;" 
and I commenced cleaning the frying pan with a bunch of hay 
that lay conveniently near. I had decided that the old man 
was certainly, to say the least, a monomaniac on the diamond 
question. 1 firmly resolved to at once pack up with my com- 
rades, who were all ready, and set out for the mines, and let 
the old man manage his great plan of corralling all the money 
in the world in the best way he might. 1 would have nothing 
more to do with it. At sunset on the same day we pitched 
our camp at Butter's Fort, on our way to Hangtown (Placer- 
vine), and by the time winter set in the old man and his two- 
hundred-pound diamond had passed entirely from my memory. 
* v <* « a- » 

In December the El Dorado war broke out, and General 
Winn called for volunteers to put down the Indians — princi- 
pally the Mocosumnes — who were depredating on the miners. 
We raised a battalion around Coloma, Hangtown and Weaver, 
and boldly marched to the front. The detachment that I 
operated with was sent out on the immigrant road toward 
Carson Valley. On our first day's march we met one Indian, 
who killed our commander, Lieutenant-Colonel McKinney, 
which brought the whole command to a halt, and on the morn- 
ing following small scouting parties were sent out in various 
directions. Myself and four others went up the Carson Valley 
road. We proceeded some ten miles, and made our camp to 
rest and make coffee. We had scarcely halted, when not two 
hundred yards from us we heard a savage yell and a gunshot, 
and up the road we went in the direction indicated. In a 



436' REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

minute we were upon half-a-dozen Indians, in the very act of 
scalping two fallen white men. We drove them away, and 
secured the two pack-mules belonging to the two fallen miners, 
one of whom was found to be stone dead, shot through and 
through with arrows. The other was full of arrows, but still 
alive. The first man who reached him called for water. I 
immediately responded with my canteen, and when in the act 
of giving him the water I discovered, to my horror, that it was 
my old friend of the two-hundred-pound diamond. I felt the 
blood rush to my face when I saw that he recognized me. 

" It is all right," said he. " You thought me crazy. I 
don't, blame you. The diamond is on the black mule." 

Without speaking another word the old man expired, with 
an arrow in his heart. 

In the meantime the mules had been secured, and we all — 
except one who stood on guard — collected around the two mur- 
dered men. My mind went like a steam engine, and all about 
the diamond, which had turned out to be a reality. 

One of the mules was packed with* camp equipage, including 
a pick, axe and shovel, and it was concluded that two men 
should go to work and dig a grave — one to continue on guard, 
while myself and the other would take the two mules to our 
camp down the road and cook some dinner. 

When Hugh McKay and myself went to unpack the black 
mule we found a heavy bulk of great weight, wrapped in blan- 
kets and balanced in the very center of a Mexican aparejo 
(pack saddle.) As we went to take it down, it came down 
with a fearful weight, and Hugh said: 

" Gold ! so help me God !" 

As he said this he made a movement as if to open the pack- 
age, but I restrained him and said : 

"Hugh, that old man up there, was a friend of mine. 
This is not gold. Wait till the boys are all here, and then we 
will open the pack. You may take my word for it, however, 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 437 

that I know what is in it, and it is of greater value than a 
hundred mule loads of gold. Promise me to wait until the 
boys get here, and let us go about getting dinner. I will 
gratify you, however, with the information that that bundle of 
blankets contains a diamond of two hundred pounds weight, 
and our scouting party of five will go full partners in it." 

In an hour the boys had performed the last sad rites to the 
two unfortunate men, and returned to camp. Hugh and 
myself had dinner ready, which the three dispatched with 
great relish; Hugh and myself were too much excited to eat, 
but managed to swallow a cup of coffee. 

Immediately after dinner I proceeded very briefly to inform 
the boys of all I knew about the old man and the great 
diamond, and we at once proceeded to gratify our curiosity and 
calm our excitement by beholding the great treasure that had 
tempted the cupidity of the Lord Chief Jeweler of the mighty 
King Solomon. Finally it rolled out in all its great beauty. 
It was hectagon in form, with pointed edges. I didn't faint, 
but my knees smote each other, my vision grew dim and my 
mind wandered. I was recalled to consciousness by Jim 
McCormick, who profanely remarked: 

"Sold! Sold! Sold! It is the biggest piece of crystalized 
quartz I ever saw !" 

In my indignation I was about to strike him to the earth. 
Three of the five comprising our party, who had been a year in 
the mines, confirmed Jim's opinion. In the old man's bundle 
we found many curious papers and the mysterious book, which 
puzzled us all. We agreed to bury the diamond, however, 
until we could learn something of the contents of the book — 
for, after all. we might be mistaken. Another grave was dug 
and the diamond buried. A cedar tree was cut and smoothed 
off, and an appropriate head-board made and put up. We 
then took up our line of march for the main camp, some ten 
miles distant. 



438 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

In three weeks the war was over, and we all returned to our 
winter quarters. After much discussion on the matter it was 
determined to send the mysterious book to the Smithsonian 
Institute and ask them to inform us, if possible what it was. 
We did so, and in due course of time we received the grati- 
fying information that it was an old Hindostanee surveyor's 
manual. 

This story will not seem strange to those who were in 
the mines in '49 and '50, when the country was wholly 
unknown, and parties mining in a canon knew nothing of the 
country beyond. Strange ideas possessed the mind as to the 
theory of gold deposits, the general opinion being that there 
were great golden fountain heads in the Sierras, whence the 
gold came down in the mountain torrents and lodged in the 
ravines and bars. Many persons disdaining ounce diggings 
wasted their time searching for these imaginary fountain heads 
where they expected to find inexhaustible quantities of the 
precious metal. Being unfamiliar with mines and mining it 
is not to be wondered that strange freaks possessed the minds 
of the early gold hunters. 

A great many finding those beautiful specimens of crystal- 
ized quartz believed them to be diamonds, and were hard to 
persuade to the contrary; still others believed the deep holes 
in the river to be filled with gold. A fretful, feverish state of 
mind pervaded the whole body of gold seekers which would 
cause them,, on the most absurd rumors, to abandon profitable 
diggings and go off with a rush in search of imaginary treasures, 
the wildest of all being the Gold Lake excitement in the sum- 
mer of '50. 

About the month of June a* man came into a camp near 
Grass Valley, and secretly informed a party of miners, of his 
having found a lake high up in the Sierras where gold was as 
plentiful as cobble-stones on the river bars ; that he desired to 
secure the co-operation of some reliable men to get out and 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 43 9 

dispose of as much gold as they needed, invest the proceeds, 
which, he said, must be done with the utmost secrecy, as when 
the secret got out gold would be of less value than copper or 
lead, the quantities in sight being absolutely incalculable. Of 
course he had little trouble in enlisting a party, as his discovery 
was in perfect harmony with the fevered imaginations of the 
average gold hunter. The party procured mules, and pack 
saddles, with large canvas sacks in which to bring away the 
gold. Notwithstanding the greatest secrecy attended their 
preparations and departure, the secret leaked out, and an 
' excitement followed that spread like contagion. Every mining 
camp in the whole gold region caught " the Gold Lake fever," 
and there was a general rush for " the grand fountain-head, 
found at last." The excitement was not confined to the 
miners. It set San Francisco, Sacramento, and all the other 
trading towns, wild. Mules, pack-saddles and outfits ran up to 
fabulous prices ; a mule, pack-horse or a burro would sell for 
a thousand dollars, and within a month's time fifty thousand 
men were penetrating the caiions and scaling the mountains in 
search of Gold Lake. 

The original party, with the lucky discoverer, went hither 
and thither, failing to-day, but " sure to find it to-morrow." 
Their provisions gave out, but still, under the guidance of 
their insane leader they continued their search until at last 
worn out, exhausted, dispirited and famished, the party hung 
-their crazy guide and abandoned the search. 

So insane were the people on the existence of this Gold Lake 
that thousands continued the search until the storms of winter 
drove them back to the foothills and valleys. Many weru lost 
by falling over precipices, and some remained until snowed in 
and were never more heard of. 

The poet Kercheval who was one of the searchers for the 
imaginary golden fountain head, declares the truth to be 
that the insane man who started the excitement and was guide 



440 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

to the first party was not hung, but the prevailing opinion at 
the time was in the affirmative. 

The humorous Frank Ball shut up shop in San Francisco 
and followed the Jack-o'-Lantern, and on his return made a 
very graphic song about the wild rush for Gold Lake. I regret 
my inability to reproduce it. However, while the memory of 
that funny fellow is before me, I will relate a circumstance and 
a song that gave Frank a fame that filled the land from our 
golden shores to the Atlantic seaboard, and also filled his 
pocket. 

The great fire of May, '51, laid San Francisco in ashes. The 
Custom House was burnt, but the treasure in the vaults, more 
than a million dollars, was uninjured. A distinguished South 
Carolina politician, the Hon. T. Butler King, was Collector, 
and having secured a building on the corner of Kearney and 
Washington streets, removed the treasure from the burnt 
Custom House at the corner of Montgomery and California 
streets thereto. The manner in which this transfer of the 
"deposits" was made created the greatest merriment in San 
Francisco (always merry, even when the bulk of her population 
had to sleep on the bare ground, with the dome of heaven for a 
covering). The King summoned to his assistance as many 
persons as he could get, and arming them with old muskets, 
cutlasses, swords and pistols, placed the money on a big wagon, 
and seating himself on the summit thereof, with a half-dozen 
pistols in his belt, a cutlass lying by his side, and an old flint- 
lock musket in one hand and a club in the other, he bade his 
treasure team to move on, and his guard to inarch. Now the 
truth of the matter was, that in daylight one man with a dray 
would have been just as safe in carting that coin along Mont- 
gomery street as though he had been guarded by a regiment of 
regulars. 

The proceeding was so ridiculous that Frank took in the 
whole spirit of the thing, and maie a song about it, which he 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 441 

sang in the places of amusement with immense applause. He 
next made a caricature, had it lithographed, and published on 
sheets with his song, and sold them readily at one dollar a 
copy, selling five hundred in one night. I cannot give the 
caricature, but the following is the song : 

"THE KING'S CAMPAIGN; OR, REMOVAL OF THE DEPOSITS." 

" Come listen a minute, a song I'll sing, 
Which I rather calculate will bring 
Much glory, and all that sort of thing, 
On the head Of our brave Collector King. 

Ri tu di nu, Ri tu di nu, 

Ri tu di nu di na. 

"Our well-beloved President 
This famous politician sent, 
Though I guess we could our money have spept 
Without aid from the general government. 
Ri tu di nu, &c, 

" In process of time this hero bold 
Had collected lets of silver and gold, 
Which he stuck away in a spacious hole, 
Except what little his officers stole. 
Ri tu di nu, &c. 

" But there came a terrible fire one night, 
Which put his place in an awful plight, 
And 'twould have been a heart-rending sight, 
If the money had not been all right. 
Ri tu di nu, &c. 

"Then he put his officers on the ground, 
And told 'em the specie vault to surround, 
And if any 'Sydney Cove' came round, 
To pick up a cudgel and knock him down. 
Ri tu, di nu, <&c. 

" But the money had to be moved away, 
So he summoned his fighting men ene day, 
A.nd fixed 'em all in marching array, 
Like a lot of mules hitched on to a dray. 
Ri tu di nu, &c. 

"Then he mounted a brick and made a speech, 
And unto them this way did preach, — 
•'Oh, feller-sogers, I beseech 
You to keep this cash from the people's reach. 
Hi tu di nu, &c. 



442 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

"'For,' said lie, "tis well convinced I am, 
That the people's honesty 's all a sham, 
And that no one here is worth a d — n, 
But the officers of Uncle Sam.' 
Ri tu di nu, &c. 

"Then he drew his revolver and told them to start. 
But be sure to keep their eyes on the cart, 
And not to be at all faint of heart, 
But to tread right up, and try to look smart. 
Ri tu di nu, &c. 

"Then each man grasped his sword and gun, 
The babies squalled and women run, 
And all agreed that the King was one 
Of the greatest warriors under the sun. 
Ri tu di nu, Ri tu di nu, 
Ri tu di nu di »a." 

One night Frank was invited to a hugely aristocratic wine 
party, and sang his song mid roars of merriment. After Frank 
was through he was duly presented to " the King," — the first 
knowledge that he had of the great man's presence. " The 
King" took Frank to one side arid said : " Mr. Ball, would you 
like to have a sinecure position at the Custom House?" "Why, 
certainly," said Frank. " Well, you call at my office to-mor- 
row, and get your commission." Frank called, took the hint 
and ceased to sing " The King's Campaign." 

But some of the Custom House greenies seeing that Frank 
had won a fine position by singing his song, took it up to sing 
themselves into a higher place, when lo ! the King cut their 
heads off as though they had been so many cabbages. As sim- 
ple as it may seem the song ruined King politically for life. 
He was laughed out of the San Francisco Collectorship, 
returned to South Carolina, where I believe he tried to be 
elected to the United States Senate. His enemies sent to San 
Francisco, procured the "King's Campaign," scattered copies 
of it broadcast over South Carolina, and T. Butler King 
was laughed out of politics. Frank Ball left Los Angeles a 
couple of years ago and went to Massachusetts to comfort an 
aged mother in her declining years. 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 443 



CHAPTER XXXVII. 

A Retrospective View — A Thirty Years' Change—" The Old Man of the 
Mountain " — Fraudulent Land Grants — The Limantour Land Claim — 
Santa Ana's Minister Bocanegra — Attempt to Assassinate Him — Fraud 
Exposed — The Justice and Wisdom of the Government Vindicated — 
Conclusion. 



i"N reviewing the misfortunes that have befallen this sunny 
land, the burdens it has carried, its giant efforts to shake 
off the "Old Man of the Mountain" who had so firmly 
seated himself astride the youthful pilgrim at the early stage of 
its journey that he thought he could there remain forever; in 
the face of all the adverse circumstances, to see the progress 
Southern California has made, the position she now occupies 
strikes one with wonder and amazement. Take a bird's-eye 
view of the country from San Andres (where Joaquin Murietta 
in '53 made his first bloody sally) to San Diego, and what a 
change ! ^ 

On seeming desert plains we find the most prolific fields of 
grain, orchards of the most luscious fruits, vineyards laden 
with commercial wealth ; and where coyotes fought over the 
carcass of some unfortunate elk, antelope or deer, the merry 
laugh of happy children is heard in boisterous merriment at 
their relief from the monotony of the school-room. In groves 
of umbrageous beauty, where pursuing Vigilantes strung up 
captured bandits, now pointing Heavenward we see the spires of 
Churches ; and instead of the hoarse curses of angry men, we 
hear the sweet songs of praise to "Him from whom all bless- 
ings flow." In the canons and most inaccessible fastnesses of 



444 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

the Sierras, where the robbers of early times found secure 
retreat, with no enemy near to make thorn afraid, unless, per- 
chance, the grizzly bear, we now find the happy " bee man," 
with his millions of co-workers, collecting their tribute from 
the sweets of the floral kingdom. Over mountains where toiled 
the galled and jaded pack-mule, under the lash of the cruel 
arriero, now thunders the iron horse, with emphatic admo- 
nitions that the age of barbarism has gone by forever, and that 
man must bow his haughty neck to the mandates of civiliza- 
tion, or must go hence and further on. 

San Diego of yore, with nothing but bailes, fandangos, bull- 
fights, monte, and John Phoenix gentlemen, to amuse her — 
slept in the sleepy hollow of forgetful ness, and pined for noth- 
ing but RAILROAD — has found the full fruition of her dreams, 
and has become a city in reality, and not one on paper and of 
expectations. 

Where thirty years ago the vaquero corraled his lowing herds 
now reigns in regal splendor San Bernardino, the Southern 
Sierra Queen. Bakersfield, the beautiful, now rears her spires 
from the plain where three decades past roamed in undisputed 
ownership the subjects of the Tulare King. San Luis Obispo 
that in '53 was powerless to pursue a halt-dozen bandits who 
had with impunity murdered her defenseless people, is now 
rich, powerful and progressive. Santa Barbara, what shall I 
say of this old place of Spanish aristocracy, that in '53 allowed 
Jack Powers to ride rough-shod over her ? That, now she is 
the Southern coast beauty, rich, prosperous and happy, and 
in her strength could repel the assaults of an army or an 
armada. The very spot where the rich Ranchero, Don Jose 
Sepulveda, gave the grand rodea twenty-eight years ago is now 
the centre of the most progressive and wealthy region on the 
Pacific coast, surrounded by those prosperous towns, Anaheim, 
Santa Ana, Orange, Westminster, Tustin, and the old San 
Juan Capistrano, Norwalk and Downey. On the smooth plain 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 445 

where Bill pursued and captured Lanfranco's phantom, farm- 
houses, fields and orchards in rural beauty kiss the rising sun. 
At the place where the lordly Viejo Lugo rested in his declin- 
ing years we now find the moral village of Compton; and near 
by, where on the first of January, 1853, the desperado, Ricardo 
TJrives, gave the author his New Year's breakfast, we find 
a Methodist camp-meeting ground. Of Los ANGELES! what 
shall we say of thee, imperious beauty ? Shall we say that the 
dream of thy founder, Navarro, has in thee been realized ? 
No ! not yet; but his dream is rapidly nearing a complete 
realization. Los Angeles does not yet rival Granada of old, 
neither cloth her valley equal the famous Vega. The Moors 
were four hundred years in rearing to her sublime grandeur their 
cherished western capital and in making their beautiful Vega 
the world's Eden. 

With our railroads, our electricity, our steam power and our 
other improvements-, we ought to accomplish in fifty years as 
much as did the Moors in their four hundred, and we may 
safely count that within the lives of the present generation the 
dream of Navarro will have been fully realized. What shall I 
say of the pioneers of thirty jears ago? This: — That few are 
left. Many having accumulated 'a sufficiency of gold returned 
to former homes, others who had failed in their expectations, 
went further on to new and more promising fields of adventure 
and have disappeared ; still others having failed, failed and 
failed, and again failed, are broken in spirit and only await the 
summons to that unknown land where gold is not holden to be 
the only standard of excellence ; while still more — the many, 
alas, too many ! — having been too weak to withstand the dissi- 
pations and temptations of the fast times, became the prey of' 
the fell destroyer, and are now as though they had never been. 
And yet of the pioneers, many have passed through the fiery 
ordeal of early times, and, like pure diamonds, have come out 
with increased brilliancy, and now stand as a corporals guard 



446 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

over the graves of the grand army of Argonauts that has been 
swept away. A parting word to those who are left. Let us dis- 
card past differences, jealousies and dislikes, and knowing each 
other so well, close our eyes to mutual faults, forget past 
differences, and standing together as brothers, obey the behest 
of the Master and "LovE ONE ANOTHER." 

The California Spaniard has been more unfortunate, if any- 
thing, than the average Argonaut, having as heretofore re- 
marked, lost his land and his general wealth. For this he has 
blamed the Government of the United States, and feels that 
the Government has been false to the treaty of Guadaloupe 
Hidalgo, and has virtually confiscated his land. With the 
highest possible esteem for the California Spaniard, for his 
bravery, patriotism and superlative goodness of heart, his 
vivacity, innate talent and Christian virtue, I beg to radically 
differ with him and tell him that he is mistaken, ancl, that the 
United States Government is not to blame for his misfortunes. 
The following well written complaint I clipped years ago from 
one of our papers, by whom written I never knew. As it 
reflects the general spirit of the people in their land mis- 
fortunes, I give it, and will then give my opinion thereon: 

"Now these were early days; we were all young, full of 
vigor and enterprise, ready to undertake anything regardless of 
the dangers or fatigue attending it. There was an irresistible 
charm in our society of these days. There was no great con- 
centrated wealth; no pauperism; taxation was nominal, and 
the Church, under the Mission Fathers, accustomed to dis- 
pense charity instead of receiving it; there were no exactions in 
this line. The land from Mount Shasta to the monument 
established by Weller on the southern boundary, was owned by 
the native Californians. They were a simple but dignified 
people, and reserved almost to stoicism. 

" The young adventurers were of the very best of the American 
and European race, well educated and accustomed to good 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 447 

society. It did not take long to gain entree, and when they 
did, the hospitality extended to them was unbounded. Parties 
and balls were a constant occurrence, attended by the citizens 
of all ages, so that great propriety and genteel demeanor char- 
acterized these happy reunions. 

" About this time was established the United States Land 
Commission, where all the good people that we found here 
were compelled to come forward and show cause why they 
should not be dispossessed of their broad acres and cattle on a 
thousand hills. 

" Well, . then their trouble commenced. Lawyers had to 
be feed, cattle to be sold to pay fees. And when the Com- 
mission decided the land was theirs by grant and by treaty 
stipulations, well, then, they drew a long breath and said, 
1 thank God; Ave are safe.' But by and by there was a notice 
served upon them, that, their cases were all appealed to the 
District Court of the United States. Then lawyers had to be 
hunted up again, more cattle sold, and when the cattle gave 
out they had to divide the land with, the lawyer, or mortgage 
the premises. Well, after years, the District Court decided 
'that they owned the land by valid grants and treaty stipula- 
tions. So our poor Californians drew another long breath, and 
re-uttered another prayer to God in thanks for their second 
deliverance. But again they are notified that the United States 
District Attorney has taken an appeal to the United States 
Supreme Court. More lawyers, more sales of cattle, more sub- 
division of the land with the lawyers, and more mortgaging. 
Well, they have to fight in Washington, and when they were 
so fortunate as to get a favorable decision from that tribunal, 
or a dismissal by the Attorney-General, they are informed that 
a patent must be procured. In order to do this the Surveyor- 
General must segregate the land from the supposed public 
domain. There is no appropriations made for surveys of 
private land claims, so they have to furnish the coin. The 



448 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

survey is made. The Commissioner of the General Land Office 
rejects, then there is another appeal to the Secretary of the 
Interior." 

" More lawyers, more fees, more sub-divisions. The learned 
Secretary rejects the survey and orders a new one. The new 
one goes hack, a patent issues, signed by the President of the 
United States, with the great seal of the nation. It is filed in 
the proper department. Some other fellow files objections to 
the patent. The Commissioner, of his own volition, retracts 
it, and writes across its face, 'cancelled/ More sending back, 
more laws passed governing surveys of private land claims in 
California, more publications and more filing of surveys and 
plats, until finally the original possessor does not own one inch 
of his patrimony, the squatters and the lawyers and the Cali- 
fornia interest having used him up. 

" If Lucifer had designed the l^gal confiscation of the Cali- 
fornians' estates, it could not have been more ingeniously accom- 
plished. Cromwell's confiscation in Ireland was bold, manly, 
cruel and harsh. It did not pretend anything but what it 
was — the deprivation of the Irish of their estates for religious 
and political reasons. 

" He had examples set him in Spain, France and Austria, 
and he followed them with a vengeance. Under the sneaking 
color of law the poor Californians, in the nineteenth century, 
by the great, the magnanimous, the just and the mild citizen- 
loving Republic, were robbed of estates worth more millions by 
ten than all Cromwell's confiscations. It is not ended ; these 
cases are yet unsettled. Senator Benton, in his seat in the 
United States Senate, twenty-six years ago, foretold the hard- 
ship and outrage of this Bill of 1851, to settle private land 
claims in California. 

v " If the title of the Act read, 'An Act entitled an Act to 
confiscate the private lands belonging to the inhabitants of 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 449 

California/ nobody would be deceived, and the authors would 
have the merit of candor and frankness. 

" The Star was here shining upon the introduction of this 
outrage ; it is still looking upon its wholesale destructive 
effects. 

" We might be permitted to paraphrase the lines of Camp- 
bell, and say : 

' Oh! mighty Heaven, ere justice found a grave, 
Why slept thy sword, Omnipotent to save? ' " 

As heretofore written the Californian was so full-handed and 
happy that he gave no heed to the sore foot and the rainy day, 
and when he needed money it was more convenient to go to 
the money-lender than to deny himself imaginary necessities, 
and thus he gave "the old man of the mountain/'" the usurer, 
Shakspeare's Shylock, an easy seat astride his neck and was 
never able to shake him off. 

The California Spaniard was so over-generous that he would 
thus raise money for his friend in sums great or small, accord- 
ing to his ability. He knew not the value of money or the 
crushing power of compound interest ; ten per cent and three 
per cent per -month interest compounding monthly had no 
terrors for him, because he knew not of its consuming force. 
Then came a year or two of drought, which found him in debt. 
His cattle were swept away and the Basque sheep herder came 
in and rented his land, but his rental would not pay his inter- 
est. Taxes, always high, increased with his increasing inability 
to pay. He could not sell his land because of his imperfect 
title and his mortgage, and all that was said about his difficult 
and expensive litigation was in measure true. Money he must 
have and his only recourse was "the old man -of the moun- 
tain/' with his tightening grasp. Is it to be wondered at that 
the poor California Spaniard, wholly ignorant in the^ways of the 

world and the money-lender, was ground to powder as between 
29 



450 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

the nether stones of a mill. But still the Government of the 
United States was not to Name, and I will now endeavor to 
show exactly wherein the blame should lie and who should 
bear it. 

Now for a scrap of warlike history. In 1846 Don Pio Pico, 
a man of great ability, was Governor. He was of peculiar 
hostility to the United States aggression, and when he found 
that California was sure to fall into the hands of the American, 
and after California had actually fallen, the Governor em- 
ployed all the clerical force of the country to fill out grants as 
fast as he could sign them, granting away in the name of the 
Mexican Sovereignty, to his kindred and friends all the land 
worth the having, from Shasta to the monument erected by 
Weller to mark the line between the United States and 
Mexico.- Having thus granted all the land in California the 
Governor hied himself to Mexico to procure ante-confirma- 
tions of his ante-dated grants of the gringo conquest. Unfor- 
tunately for the Governor and his grantees a batch of this 
handiwork while on its way to Mexico fell into the hands of 
the gringos and was sent as a curiosity to the Government at 
Washington, which becoming thus apprized of this mammoth 
land swindle, after due consideration enacted the law of 1851 
" for the settlement of private land claims in California." By 
this measure the Government seemed to feel that the con- 
querors have rights which the vanquished ought to respect, 
and to distinguish the bona fide from the fraudulent California 
land grant, subjected them all to a rigid judicial investigation, 
and those that were good were confirmed and patented to their 
owner?, and those that were fraudulent were rejected. 

Now, let me ask all true men of the Spanish- American race, 
where the blame should 'rest, if any there were ? Surely not 
on the Government, and the able writer whose article I have- 
reproduced argued from passion and not fr< in the truths of 
history. 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 451 

Here is another batch of land-claims history, and the drama- 
tis per sonce, actors therein: BanCTOlt Library 

In 1843, Santa Ana was President of Mexico. Under him 
Manuel Bocanegra was Minister of Exterior Relations, etc., 
equivalent to our Secretary of Interior. At the same time 
General Manuel Micheltorena was Governor of California. 
Manuel Jimeno was Departmental Secretary, and Manuel 
Castafiares was Administrator of Customs at Monterey. About 
the same time there was a Frenchman on the coast as a trader 
and smuggler, a former gunsmith of the City of Mexico named 
Jose Y. Limantour. In 1851 this Limantour appeared in San 
Francisco and presented to the United States Land Commis- 
sioner for confirmation his claims for one hundred and thirty 
four leagues of the best and most valuable lands in California. 
Also, for the Farallones Islands, the islands of Yerba Buena, 
Alcatraz, Point Tiburon, and four leagues of land taking in 
the City of San Francisco, with all its houses, churches, prisons, 
markets, public buildings, streets and wharves. The Land 
Commission rejected Limantour's claim for the one hundred 
and thirty-four leagues, but confirmed all the others, and from 
their decree of confirmation the Government appealed to the 
United States District Court of California, Hon. Ogden Hoff- 
man, Judge; Pierre Delia Torre, United States Attorney, and 
Edwin M. Stanton appearing for the Government. 

In this' great trial, which took place in San Francisco in 
1857, was exposed the most ingenious, well-digested and 
rascally conspiracy for gobbling up not only what was left of 
the public domain of California, but every important island and 
point of land in and around the harbor of San Francisco, 
necessary to the Government as military defences, and 
the city of San Francisco itself, as before stated. This 
trial occupied the Court for months, and it was therein 
proved, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Limantour came 
from the City of Mexico in '51, laden down with land 



452 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

grants, all nicely fixed up, and made to appear to gringo vision 
in all respects as the bona fide grants made to the honest and 
bona fide settlers theretofore on the public domain of Mexican 
California. Unfortunately for the conspirators and their 
claims, Edwin M. Stanton was not a gringo, neither was 
Ogden Hoffman, and the fraud was so laid bare that the gang 
of conspirators were fain to flee the country to escape the 
punishment due [their crimes. The claims were rejected and 
no appeal was ever taken to the Supreme Court, of the United 
States. 

These signed, sealed and delivered laud grants, brought from 
Mexico by Limantour, were left blank to be filled in wherever 
a good scope of country could be found to scoop, the biggest 
one in extent being eighty-five leagues of redwood timber in 
Mendocino county, and one of the lesser was six square leagues 
at Cahuenga, in Los Angeles county. 

To prove these claims a great many dignitaries came from 
the City of Mexico, including Santa Ana's ex-Secretary, Boca- 
negra, who swore to the absolute genuineness of Limantour's 
claims, and Manuel Jimeno and Castafiares to prove the genuine- 
ness of Michel torena's signature. Many of the dignitaries of 
California, including Governor Pio Pico, were witnesses to 
prove the regularity of the proceedings in respect to Liman- 
tour's grants; all to no purpose. The fraud was made so ap- 
parent that there could not exist a reasonable doubt in the 
minds of any reasonable person, and doubtless were convincing 
to the conspirators themselves. It was perfectly astonishing to 
see the minuteness of proof produced. For instance, to -im- 
peach Castanares, who testified that in February, 1843, 
he had met Limantour in the City of Mexico, who handed 
him some documents from California; the whereabouts of 
Limantour was proved during the month of January preceding 
the March following, and until July, where he was on each 
and every day; the day he was at Guadalajara, when he arrived 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 453 

at and departed from Colima, the time he remained at Tepic, 
when he was at Mazatlan, when on the ocean, and when at 
Monterey; all of which proved conclusively that Limantour 
could not have been at the City of Mexico at the time Cas- 
tanares swore he met him and received the California dis- 
patches from Michel torena. When this trial was going on the 
author occupied a room on the first floor of the popular and 
venerated Union Hotel, on the corner of Kearny and Merchant 
streets, San Francisco. The Limantour crowd was there, in- 
cluding Santa Ana's ex-Secretary, Manuel Bocanegra. One 
morning at about 4 o'clock a tremendous hullabaloo was raised. 
Cries of Police ! Armas ! Assassins ! Fuego ! Sin Verguenza ! 
and the devil seemed to be turned loose among the Mexican 
lodgers at the Union. Police headquarters adjoined the 
Union and by the time I was half dressed and in the hall, the 
place was full of police, and we were soon able to understand 
that a vile, cold-blooded and cowardly attempt had been made 
to assassinate "His Excellency, Don Manuel Bocanegra;''' 
that he had retired without fastening his door; that the 
assassin had entered and had driven his blade through blan- 
kets, sheets and mattress and had hastily fled, supposing of 
course he had finished up the Mexican ex-Secretary, who had in 
person witnessed the grants of Limantour and attached the nopal 
seal thereto, and had come all the way from the City of Mexico 
to give his testimony thereon and thereof and thereto concern- 
ing, and so forth, and so on. And now the minions of the 
Government had attempted to get him out of the way in order 
that poor Limantour might be defrauded out of his ownership 
to San Francisco and all else thereabout worth the having, or 
the looking after. This attempt upon the life of this respec- 
table witness produced a most profound sensation, but only 
among Liman tour's adherents and only for a day or two, as the 
matter being placed in the hands of the detectives in less than 
a day they found out where the assassin's blade had been pur- 



454 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

chased, and that the vendee thereof was none other than the 
body servant of the illustrious Bocanegra himself, who being in 
interest with Limantour had made this silly diversion, antic- 
ipating great gain and sympathy thereby in making it seem that 
the Government had gone into the business of procuring the 
assassination of witnesses against it. It was the silliest thing 
ever attempted in America and deceived no one, not even for a 
minute. How these fellows got away from San Francisco 
without arrest and prosecution, I could never understand; yet 
they did. 

The article quoted in this chapter, as I said before, reflected 
the general spirit of the country, and was not in harmony with 
the truth. The argument of the grant holder was that under 
treaty stipulations the Government should have confirmed at 
one fell swoop all the land claims in California, from the 
dome of Shasta to the border of Mexico. Let this legal Ranger 
suggest that, had the Government done this, there would not 
have been land enough in all California, Oregon and Ne- 
vada to have filled those grants. For instance, I know of a 
citizen of Los Angeles who was never known to have an honest 
dollar, or an acre, who attempted to set up a claim to three 
hundred leagues in and around, and about and beyond the 
Soledad Pass. I think there were about twelve hundred 
ranchos in California ranging in size from one to eleven leagues. 
Most of the claimants were honest in the presentation of their 
claims; yet many of them, when examined and surveyed, were 
found to be greatly in excess of their legitimate and honest rights; 
and to sum up this business, had not the Government of the 
United States subjected all these California land claims to the 
most rigid legal scrutiny, then the Government of the United 
States would have been highly remiss in its duty to its own cit- 
izens who purchased California with their most precious blood 
and treasure; and the California Spaniard, we are permitted to 
hope, will not let the fires of resentment be fed on such non- 



REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 455 

sensical drivel as that quoted, but will agree with the author, 
that by the Government he has been treated exactly as it has 
treated any other citizen, and if anyone is to blame for the dif- 
ficulties he encountered in procuring confirmation to his land, 
then let it rest upon the shoulders of those high Mexican 
dignitaries who, after California became the property of the 
United States by conquest and purchase, attempted in Mexico 
to cheat the Government out of its honestly acquired rights. 

There is not a squatter in all California that ever got one 
acre of an honest Mexican grant, unless he purchased and paid 
for it; while the truth is that squatters, or more properly 
speaking, American settlers on the public domain, were de- 
frauded, by millions of acres of the public domain having been 
taken in by the fraudulent surveys of otherwise honest Mexican 
land claims; and this being true we will consign the subject to 
the grave of forgetfulness; with still a parting word to the 
young men of Spanish blood, and that is: Pine not over 
grandeur gone, of misfortunes past. The country ,has been 
unfortunate; the American pioneers also have been. We have 
all started on a new race of progress, and whenever you have 
entered the lists with the gringo, you have proved yourself at 
least his equal. In the law, in politics, in science, in agricul- 
ture, and in all the arts progressive you have shown that the 
blood of the «Cavalier manifests itself, and shows whence you 
came. Your Pacheco, by well directed effort became Governor 
of his native land, and now has a seat in our National councils; 
your Estudillo and your Coronel became Treasurers of State; 
your Sepulveda became one of the highest Judges in the land, 
with aims still higher; your Del Valle is the pride of the coun- 
try, honored by all. We opine that these eminent men did not 
cry over grandeur gone, but that they buckled on the sword of 
the new dispensation, and taking their stand in the ranks of 
American progression resolved to carve their way onward and 
upward. Have they succeeded ? They have. Then, mucha- 



456 REMINISCENCES OF A RANGER. 

chos, emulate their virtues, their determined efforts, their in- 
dustry, and let your own brave hearts be your future fortune. 
Reader, this book of reminiscences is drawing to a close. It 
has been written in the author's own way. I know that many 
of the pioneers will find fault with it. One will say to another: 
" Why didn't he tell about that great fight wherein this, that 
or the other was killed?" The other responds, "And he 
didn't say a word about this one, that one and forty others 
having been hung." 

The author repeats again that he had no desire to write of 
things of an unpleasant or horrible character, and those things 
which he was bound to relate in order to bring out the salient 
points in our pioneer history he did with a great degree of re- 
luctance, and then avoided details, which if given, and all should 
have been told, forty years of labor would not have sufficed 
therefor. Most of the pioneer characters mentioned herein 
have disappeared, most of whom have crossed the line. 

In an early chapter mention was made of Lewis C. Granger 
and his encounter with the fighting Federal dignitary at 
Madame Barriere's. To have there dropped Mr. Granger 
would have been wrong, he having been one of the ablest and 
best of our pioneer lawyers, and one of the most generous of 
men, and withal a most classical scholar. I do think that 
Lewis 0. Granger would work harder, go farther and experience 
more pleasure in serving a friend and in doing an act of gen- 
erosity than any man I ever knew. He left here and went to 
Butte county in '57, where he now resides, surrounded by a 
numerous family, children and grandchildren. I take great 
pleasure in paying this humble tribute to his general worth 
and great goodness of heart. 

William C. Getman, a Lieutenant of the Ranger Company. 
\v,is from Fort Plain, New York, was a soldier in the war with 
Mexico, and was struck and most severely wounded with a 
grape-shot in storming the Bolen Gate at the City of Mexico. 



KEM1NISCENCES OF A RANGER. 457 

A most gallant and noble fellow. In '58 he was Sherift of Los 
Angeles county, and was killed by a crazy man. He sleeps in 
Fort Hill cemetery. 

Myron Norton, so frequently mentioned, was a member of 
the Constitutional Convention of '49, was on the Judiciary 
Committee, and afterward Judge of the Superior Court of San 
Francisco, a most able man, now on the down grade of life, 
retired from business, contented and happy. He used to ride 
with the Rangers. 

Bill, or Gillermo Pacha, when not on service at the United 
States Surveyor General's Office, or in the field, may be seen 
on our fashionable streets, to all appearances as great a ladies' 
man as thirty years ago. 

John 0. Wheeler is now Clerk of the Los Angeles branch of 
the Supreme Court of California. 

The surviving members of the Ranger Company have been 
heretofore properly accounted for. Captain Hope sleeps in an 
unmarked grave in Fort Hill cemetery. He also was a vet- 
eran of the Mexican war. 

Reader! We have ridden together on a pretty long cam- 
paign. We have returned to our barracks. Our mustangs 
are tired; our canteens are empty; our arms, saddles, bridles 
and spurs are hung up for the night. The bugle has sounded 
the " tattoo." We are fatigued and sleepy. Now we hear the 
signal to "extinguish lights;" and 

QUIET REIGNS SUPREME!